MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — In Michigan, you've got summer, winter and pothole season.
It’s a problem for road commissions every year, but it’s especially bad this year. After getting an expensive car repair bill, a viewer from Muskegon Heights turned to 13 ON YOUR SIDE for answers.
“We pay city taxes and we’ve got to drive on this.”
Tacara Nicholson said the daily drive through her Muskegon Heights neighborhood now feels increasingly like a trip through the spin cycle.
“These streets have been like this for years,” she related.
Certainly the prevailing feeling with regard to a recent trip to the mechanic.
The visit cost the Muskegon Heights resident upwards of $1,200 in suspension-related repairs.
“You’ve got to play dodge a pothole, to get to where you’re going,” Tacara related. “I literally have to drive on the opposite side of the street just to avoid potholes.”
Tacara pointed out the likely culprit: some of the biggest offenders near her home off Maplewood on the City’s south side.
Neighbors flagged us down as we walked, highlighting their own problem spots.
“This year is probably one of the worst years we've had in the last four or five,” Ken Hulka, managing director of the Muskegon County Road Commission explained via phone Wednesday.
Hulka said the issues were widespread and worse than those observed during the typical spring.
“Based on how spring has not sprung, if you will, you know, the temperatures are up and down,” he related. “That's just the worst possible scenario for those potholes.”
Also, supply-side issues that had county road crews operating behind schedule.
“Patching… right now it's difficult to get,” Hulka said of the material used in affecting longer-lasting repairs. “The plant in Muskegon is not open yet.”
The city’s public works director told 13 ON YOUR SIDE he expected to begin the painstaking work of hot-patching problem spots when supply issues subsided and with the arrival of weather more conducive to the process.
He said that time would come toward the end of April.
Tacara, however, said the pothole problem in her neighborhood had been an issue for a while and would prefer a solution with longevity.
“I call them Oreo crumbs,” she said of the patch material. “That's not doing nothing. Fix the issue… Tear the street up and rebuild it.”
As far as how the City of Muskegon Heights plans to remedy the problem in the long-term, 13 ON YOUR SIDE asked city leadership and will update this article once a response is received.
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