This year, MDOT received many complaints about the short-lived nature of pothole repairs, with residents alleging that patching does not solve the problem because it is done incorrectly, MDOT Director Kirk Steudle said in a statement.
To fully repair the roads, crews would have to rebuild them by sawing and cutting away huge sections of pavement and pouring hot mix asphalt to bond and form more permanent pavement.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed a $100 million supplemental appropriations bill into law March 14 for special winter road maintenance in Michigan.
Of the $100 million, individual counties received $39.1 million, cities and villages received $21.8 million and the Michigan Department of Transportation, or MDOT, received $39.1 million.
East Lansing was allocated $167,343.76 for special winter road maintenance.
The five-year average for winter maintenance in Michigan is about $88 million.
The budget is expected to be in the $130 million range after the harsh winter.
Source: Michigan Department of Transportation
In addition to such a project being expensive and time-consuming, it would cause construction and road closings, MDOT communications director Jeff Cranson said.
Filling potholes with cold patch currently is the only way to temporarily fix the long-term problem, Cranson said.
The long-lasting repairs also would cost more than most residents anticipated. Although the House of Representatives and Senate agreed on a $330 million supplemental for road funding last month , the funds cannot feasibly cover the needs of every city, including East Lansing.
East Lansing Director of Public Works Todd Sneathen said permanently fixing the roads could take several years to complete, and that East Lansing is not currently financially able to do so at this time.
“A long-term fix would definitely be significantly more expensive,” Sneathen said. “One of the issues is that we just don’t have the money to do those types of fixes.”
Cranson said the difficult winter contributed to the quick deterioration of roads statewide.
“This is an exceptional season because of the brutal winter and decades of underinvestment in Michigan,” Cranson said. “Those two things combined have made this one of the worst springs for pavement decline ever.”
For communication sophomore Alexandra Repasky , the short-t erm patches are not sufficient because they fall apart as other potholes are forming.
She said potholes are an increasingly large problem on the roadways — and a long-term fix is necessary.
“It’s very aggravating,” Repasky said. “Sometimes when I’m driving I feel like I’m playing a video game and trying to avoid all the potholes.”
Michigan legislators are currently pushing for major fee increases, Cranson said.
With current funding, he said temporary fixes are the only option because it’s not feasible to reach all of the holes and pavement breakdowns with a long-term fixing procedure.
“We need to spend more in Michigan,” he said. “We need to do it right.”