Michigan DOT: Mild winters create perfect scenario for potholes

Updated Feb 16, 2017
(Michigan DOT graphic)(Michigan DOT graphic)

Mild temperatures in the winter are nice for the people of Michigan, but the state’s department of transportation says long snaps of warm weather contribute to road damage.

That’s because the freeze-thaw cycle of warm to cold temperatures tend to create potholes.

“It’s normal to get a few days throughout the winter that are warmer than usual, but this year has been unusually sporadic,” says Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Kirk Steudle. “Extreme temperature fluctuations create many issues for road maintenance.”

When a frozen road thaws from the surface down, MDOT says, the melting ice and snow saturate the ground, become trapped and help soften the pavement. Because this year winter has been mild and there have been a number of thaw events, the condition of Michigan roads are worsening.

MDOT is asking for motorists to report potholes so crews can act on them as soon as possible.

“The quicker we know about where potholes are forming, the sooner we can get them patched,” says MDOT Engineer of Operations Mark Geib. “Patching them won’t last, but will help get us through until warmer temperatures are sustained.”

Potholes can be reported to the MDOT Pothole Hotline at 888-296-4546, by going online to MDOT’s “Report a Pothole” website or by calling a local MDOT Transportation Service Center (TSC) or region office.