Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer directs MDOT to accelerate pothole fixes

By: - March 2, 2022 4:36 pm

Potholes along Capitol Avenue in downtown Lansing | Susan J. Demas

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that she is kicking her campaign promise to “fix the damn roads” into “overdrive,” calling on the state’s transportation department to use all available resources to speed up pothole repairs on state trunkline highways.

Executive Directive 2022-2 directs the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to prioritize all activities related to fixing Michigan’s seasonal potholes.

“Dealing with car damage from driving over potholes while on your way to work or school is frustrating for every Michigander. No family should have to spend their hard-earned money on repairing a flat tire or a broken axle caused by these potholes,” Whitmer said Wednesday. “That’s why I’m directing the state transportation department to speed up pothole repairs. We’re kicking this into overdrive, using overtime pay and contractors to get the job done, while we continue broader improvement projects across the state.”

Effective immediately, the executive directive includes orders for MDOT to:

  •  Use “all available resources” to expedite road surface repairs, including using overtime pay and contracted service.
  • Ensure the public can easily report the location of potholes or other road surface issues on state trunkline highways, and assess and respond to those public reports.
  • Assess conditions on state trunkline highways to identify and prioritize areas for repair.
  • Ensure timely disbursements of Michigan Transportation Fund dollars — appropriated by the state Legislature — to local road agencies, so local authorities have the resources necessary to fix local, non-state roads.
  • Continue broader road improvement projects, including those that are part of the Rebuilding Michigan Plan, to prevent potholes and other road surface issues from developing in the first place.  

The directive also calls on the Michigan State Police (MSP) to provide support work for crews fixing the potholes, including work zone enforcement.

“Potholes are dangerous and damage vehicles. The way to prevent this is to continue fixing the roads and bridges the right way the first time. Consistent with this Executive Directive, MDOT will use all the resources at our disposal, including overtime and contracted services, to repair them,” State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba said Wednesday. “When we are not clearing roads from the latest storm, our crews will be out fixing potholes as quickly as possible.”    

Deterioration of road surfaces in Michigan is particularly evident during the months transitioning from winter to spring, usually starting in February, as snow melts and potholes are revealed.

“While the State of Michigan does not maintain local roads, the state must do everything it can, in coordination with federal and local partners, to fix potholes and other road surface deterioration quickly and efficiently once weather conditions allow. While winter weather response activities must continue to be a priority in the short term, spring 2022 must bring a renewed focus on repairing and improving road surfaces,” Whitmer’s executive directive reads.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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