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Potholes pop up early this year in metro Detroit

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published January 17, 2018

METRO DETROIT — Wild swings in wintry weather are being blamed for producing a fresh batch of potholes on metro Detroit’s roads.

Road Commission for Oakland County spokesman Craig Bryson said his agency noticed a recent increase of pothole-related reports via a customer service line. He added that he expected the problem to get worse in the near future.

“Our pothole patching crews have been out a lot, and we are seeing the roads breaking up,” Bryson said Jan. 11. “The change from literally subzero temperatures up until today in the 50s, combined with the freezing rain and melting snow, is ideal for the formation of potholes.”

Bryson said potholes often tend to start increasing in number around midwinter, such as February. 

“It’s earlier than usual, but it’s not unusual,” he said. 

Bryson said the public may report a troublesome pothole in Oakland County by calling toll free (877) 858-4804, or by filling out an online form on the RCOC website.

In the meantime, he suggested that drivers be careful, slow down and anticipate that there may be more potholes than usual.

AAA Michigan Public Affairs Specialist Gary Bubar said his agency hasn’t heard an “inordinate amount of complaints” about potholes yet, though he said potholes will become a bigger problem with the freeze and thaw cycles.

“When we get a significant melt that gets into the existing cracks in the pavement, it freezes, it expands… and that’s where potholes come from,” he said. “It’s very difficult for our public works folks to get to all of them at the same time because they happen fairly quickly.”

When a driver is approaching a pothole, the best thing to do is to grip the steering wheel at the 10 o’clock and
2 o’clock positions, slow down — but don’t hard brake — and prepare for the impact, Bubar said.

“Our first reaction as a driver is to try to avoid it, but the last thing we want is for someone to swerve into oncoming traffic and cause a more serious crash,” he said. 

Major potholes should be reported to law enforcement, the county road commissions or the Michigan Department of Transportation,
Bubar added

Learn more about the Road Commission for Oakland County by visiting www.rcocweb.org. Learn more about AAA Michigan by visiting michigan.aaa.com.