Study shows Michigan roads could get much worse

8:48 PM, Mar 29, 2012   |    comments
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Potholes form when snow melts, seeps into pavement cracks, then refreezes, expanding and popping out the blacktop. Photo courtesy: AP

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -  It is the time of year when potholes start popping up. A new study warns the problem could get much worse.

Over the next decade more than half of Michigan roads will be in poor condition if state funding remains the same. That's according to research from a Washington-based transportation group.

A stretch of 96th Avenue in Holland demonstrates the need for repairs across the state.

"With deteriorating pavement and traffic flow you can't quite catch up," says Jeff Johnson, Superintendent of the Ottawa County Road Commission. He says long-term solutions such as fully repaving roads is dramatically decreasing.

"We used to do 20 miles a years ago, and now if you're running five miles you're doing pretty good," says Johnson.

Some drivers have already had their vehicles badly damaged.

"I think I have damaged my truck, I hit a pothole with it,  and now I have a problem with it," says Garry Gebben.

Johnson says the solution is increasing the gasoline tax, which hasn't changed since the 1990's and is the main source of road funding.

"Currently, it is at 19 cents. With cost of business going up and increased traffic, it doesn't quite pay the bill," says Johnson.

"Oh yeah, that's what we need, more taxes, like we haven't gotten enough already," says driver Doug Postema.

The weather can also play a role. However, Johnson says even with a milder winter be prepared to see plenty of potholes on the road.

"Be aware that they're there, steer clear if possible, and be aware we're also there trying to repair the roads," says Johnson.

Alex Shabad

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