MDOT asks drivers to be on pothole patrol

Published: Feb. 4, 2019 at 11:50 AM EST
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(2/4/2019) - The Michigan Department of Transportation is switching from preparing their plows to getting ready to fill potholes.

"We're ask that citizens be our extra set of eyes on the roadways," said MDOT Assistant Regional Engineer for Operations Gregg Brunner.

The freeze-thaw cycle has already started. With Monday being nearly 70 degrees warmer than it was just a few days ago, anything that was ice or snow has now melted.

"Once that water gets down there and temperatures drop below freezing that causes it to expand and pushes the pavement up," Brunner said. "The next day, when that water melts it goes back down and when cars hit that, that's what actually causes the potholes out there."

Despite their best efforts, MDOT can't be everywhere spotting every pothole, so they're hoping citizens can lend them a hand.

"We actually have a report a pothole website that people can go on to know what route it was on, where it was at so we can send a crew to make the repairs," Brunner said.

MDOT crews only work on major roadways beginning with an M-, I- or U.S. Cities, townships and county road commissions handle less traveled local roadways. Reach out to them to report a pothole.

Because winter is far from over, the repairs made this month will be temporary.

"Typically, potholes are repaired with a material called a cold patch. That works well until we get additional rain or snow and then sometimes the same thing that happens when a pothole happens," Brunner said. "Water can get in there and actually wash some of that material out."

Hot patching doesn't become an option until the warmer months. MDOT says they plan to do as much patching as possible before another storm hits.