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MDOT: Drivers ’slow down’ to avoid potholes this winter

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Pesky potholes. They’re everywhere. With 60 degree temperatures coming next week, more are expected to pop up.

“Who in Michigan doesn’t love 60 and sunny one day and 6 inches of freezing rain and snow two days later,” said Nick Schirripa, a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Transportation.  “But with the constant warming and freezing and warming and freezing, that can wreak havoc on the roads.”

Potholes are born when wet ground freezes, expands and contracts said Schirripa. This winter’s unseasonably warmer weather has created them more frequently.

“Usually through winter you get a cold snap or two, you may get a warm up or two,” said Schirripa. “In this case we’re getting all that happening in a week or so. So it kinda condenses it all and makes battling those potholes a little harder.”

He said the one of their biggest challenges lately is filling them as soon as they crack open.

“If they’re not plowing one day and the next day its 60 and sunny, they’ll go out an they’ll patch potholes,” said Schirripa about the MDOT crews. “It’ll grind on you a little bit but we have some pretty amazing maintenance folks who are on this 24-7, 365.”

Schirripa asked that drivers report potholes as soon as they see them or, even worse, hit them. People can visit the MDOT website and on their homepage report the pothole and its exact location.

“Report them soon,” said Schirripa. “Don’t wait until they’re big car-eating craters. Report them soon. The sooner we know about them, the sooner we can patch them.”

Schirripa recommended driving slowly during snowy conditions. It’ll help drivers spot potholes early and avoid them.

“Just slow down,” stressed Schirripa. “You’re going to hit them. Hopefully they’re not so big that they’re tearing up tires and wheels and axles and all that fun stuff. But, go slow. You know it’s just a matter of driving safe and driving smart, understanding the conditions.”

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