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Jackson County using machine to fill potholes faster

Machine is safer for road workers
Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 5:57 PM EST
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BLACKMAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - Potholes aren’t hard to find. They’re just about anywhere you go in Michigan-especially this time of year with the freeze-thaw cycles.

But, Jackson County is trying to ways to fix them.

“Something definitely needs to be done with our roads. Not just the county, but statewide,” said Howard Schweikert.

Schweikert has several large potholes on his street in Blackman Township.

“They come out and fix these holes and within a couple of days of fixing them. They were right back to where they were at,” he said.

The Jackson County Department of Transportation is trying to change that by changing how it fills the holes, starting with a new vehicle that fills potholes with a robotic arm.

“I think it kind of adds a little bit of fun to a job duty that gets monotonous, throwing mix into holes time after time, day after day,” said Angie Kline, Jackson County Department Of Transportation deputy managing director.

The machine fills potholes in half the time it takes a typical three-person crew.

This means more holes can get filled in a day and it’s safer too.

“Filling potholes without the robotic machine is pretty dangerous. They’re jumping in and out of traffic,” said Kline.

The county is also changing what it puts into the holes.

It is recycling asphalt to make a hot mix, which is a more permanent fix typically not available in the winter.

Schweikert can’t wait to see the machine come down his street.

“I would love to see it come down here to work to see if it actually does what they were projecting it was supposed to do,” said Schweikert.

Jackson County said it plans to have the machine working double shifts in a few weeks. Eventually, it will be filling potholes around the clock.

The Jackson County Department of Transportation said it can’t fill potholes it doesn’t know about. That’s why it’s encouraging people to report them when they see them by calling 517-788-4230.

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