Pothole problems getting worse as funds fall short

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MARSHALL, Mich. -- There are too many potholes and not enough money to fix them, according to road officials.

It's a problem many counties in West Michigan are facing, and they're now waiting for the state to fill the void. Christopher Bolt, the managing director for both Calhoun County Road Department and Jackson County Department of Transportation, tells FOX 17 the problem is so extensive that the road departments only hope to keep the current pothole problem from getting worse.

"The roads are falling apart faster than we can fix them, that's the truth," Bolt said.

Instead of fixing the problem, Bolt says a lack of funds is forcing crews to merely spray paint around the holes to warn drivers of the hazards.

State representatives approved the new road funding bill in December 2015. But local governments are yet to see any new revenue.

"I haven’t received even the first dollar from that bill, and I won’t get it until next March of 2017," said Bolt, "and we really need that funding now. We needed it yesterday, and we needed it 10 years ago."

In the meantime, counties like Calhoun and Jackson are pinching pennies. "We're patching potholes more aggressively than ever before, but we're fighting a losing battle," Bolt said.

Residents FOX 17 spoke to said road conditions are annoying and becoming more of a safety concern.

The Pure Michigan Potholes Facebook page is dedicated to potholes in Calhoun County, giving residents a place to voice their concerns, post pictures, and push for change.

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2 comments

  • Andrew

    No surprises here.
    It is always more expensive to build something cheaply and then pay to continually repair it than it is to pay to have something built well initially.
    This is Michigan, and given our climate our roadbeds should be at least 24 inches thick in order to stand up to the freeze-thaw cycle reasonably. Yet the standard here is only 11 inches because it is cheaper to build.
    Typical “penny wise, pound foolish” Michigan thought process. It is one of several reasons we are financially worse off than most of the country.

    We have the technology. All we need to do is break the cycle. As we tear up roadbeds, just dig deeper and rebuild them thicker. We don’t have to do it all at once, but we do need to do it. Otherwise we might as well go back to dirt roads, because eventually that is all we will have the money for. Maintenance costs keep increasing, as do the number of roads which need it. It is simple mathematics. It is not a situation which can continue indefinitely. The earlier we start building our roads up to the specs which our climate demands, the sooner we will see an improvement in the road conditions and the road budget situation. Wait longer, and the situation for our descendants will be disasterous.