Crews scurry to fix Metro Detroit's pothole plague
The ‘sunrise to sunset’ strategy to fix potholes caused traffic delays Thursday as crews work to fill trouble spots on Interstates 696 and 75 and Telegraph Road.
MDOT recently awarded a $5 million contract to Cadillac Asphalt for emergency pothole patchwork along the hardest-hit stretches in Metro Detroit. Commutes were slowed as lane and ramp closures began 7 a.m. Thursday on I-696 and I-75, the state transportation department said.
Only the two right lanes were open for parts of the day. The I-75 northbound and southbound ramps connecting to westbound I-696 are closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Diane Cross, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said there were long delays Thursday morning in all directions, starting from I-75 to Woodward, with only one lane open eastbound.
Cross said MDOT will cancel construction Friday because rain is expected and the repair material, which uses a hot mix of gooey asphalt, can’t get wet.
In Oakland County, crews have been working overtime to patch potholes along the 2,700 miles of road the county maintains, said Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission for Oakland County.
“The combination of temperature swings, 10-plus inches of snow and three days of rain in the last couple of weeks have indeed created conditions that are worse than in recent years past,” Bryson said. “However, the situation would have been far worse if we hadn’t repaved 40-plus miles of roads last year, many of which had previously been the worst pothole offenders.” .
MDOT said seasonal weight restrictions go into effect statewide on Monday . The restrictions limit the weight trucks can carry on the roads to minimize damage while ground underneath roads thaws.
The restrictions will be lifted as temperatures warm up.
Potholes on freeways can be reported online and by calling the MDOT hotline (888) 296-4546. Potholes on Detroit streets can be reported through the Improve Detroit App.
“We almost always will have it filled within 72 hours,” said Ron Brundidge, director of Deroit’s Department of Public Works.
Warren public works crews also are working to tackle pocked paths in the Macomb County suburb, Mayor Jim Fouts said.
“During my 10 plus years as Warren mayor, I have never heard so many complaints about potholes on all major roads in our communities. And I have never seen so many potholes,” he said in a statement. “Our DPW employees are working 12-hour shifts to repair potholes on city-maintained main roadways like Ryan, Hoover, Nine Mile, 13 Mile and Chicago roads.”
Since county crews are responsible for maintaining other major roads in the city, a collaboration is underway, Fouts said Thursday.
MDOT announced seasonal weight restrictions will go into effect on Monday statewide. The restrictions are put in place to protect the roads from being damaged by excess weight as they thaw. Restrictions include reducing speed and axle-loading limits for certain vehicles.
The restrictions will be lifted later in the season as the temperatures warm up and the roads recover.
Potholes on freeways can be reported online and by calling the MDOT hotline (888) 296-4546. Potholes on Detroit streets can be reported through the Improve Detroit App and “we almost always will have it filled within 72 hours,” said Ron Brundidge, director of Department of Public Works.
Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed to this report.