Winter Weather Wreaking Havoc On Roads

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The snow and ice are no longer a threat on area roads, but they've left a big problem behind: potholes.

Repair shops are already busy making fixes, and there are still nine weeks of winter left, meaning things are probably going to get worse before they get better.

Many drivers in the area are already concerned.

"I have a little car, and I'm afraid that it's going to do some bad damage to it. So, I do try to change my route," Ronda Levendoski said.

Others do just the opposite when it comes to avoiding potholes in mid-Michigan.

"I pretty much go the same route every day, so I know them already, and just kind of go around them and plan ahead what lane you're in," Kyle Macmillan said.

But no matter how careful drivers are, potholes are hard to escape after the deep freeze and thaw. They're already doing a number on many vehicles. Brogan's Tire and Auto Service in Lansing started the week with a big increase of damaged cars. Repair costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

"We see it bent, aluminum wheels get broken," manager Sara Brogan said. "Actual chunks get taken out of the wheel. Sometimes the wheels are not repairable, so on top of having to repair or replace a tire, you have to repair or replace your wheels."

A major problem is many potholes look like innocent puddles right now because of all the snow melting that creates excess water. So, drivers don't even realize what lies beneath until it's too late.

"We would just encourage people to make sure they keep a safe distance away from the car in front of them," Lansing Director of Public Services Chad Gambles said. "So that they can react to whatever pothole that may lie in front of them."

Road crews have switched from plowing to patching on major roads for now, but only while the above freezing temperatures last.

"We stand here ready to plow or pothole depending on the weather," Gamble said.

Repair shops are ready, too. The message is buckle up for a bumpy ride into spring.

"Every year the potholes get worse," Brogan said. "We've got the tires, and we've got the people."

The public is encouraged to call the Lansing Department of Public Services to report a pothole at 517-483-4161. Typically crews respond within 24 hours, but keep in mind, it might take several tries for them to fully patch an area, and have it stick.

If you notice a pothole on a state highway, MDOT also wants to hear about it. It has a form on its website where you can report the location and leave a comment about it.

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