Is This The Worst Pothole Season We’ve Ever Seen?

“I think folks all across the state are witnessing what has become an epic conversation.”

A deep pothole in Detroit.

A deep pothole in Detroit.

Rick Pluta/MPRN

Sometimes driving around Southeast Michigan in late winter or early spring, it’s tough to know whether you’re driving on paved roads or on the surface of the moon.

When you swerve to avoid potholes the size of Olympic swimming pools, you might feel a bit helpless about the state of our infrastructure. It’s only February, but it already feels like this is the worst pothole season in recent memory.

But some help might be coming soon. The state Legislature has put on the fast track a $175 million cash infusion to help fix roads across the state in time for construction season this year. How big a dent will that make in the atrocious conditions of our roads right now?

And, more importantly, what’s the long-term solution?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Mike Nystrom, executive vice president, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), a statewide construction trade association.

“I honestly don’t remember a pothole season like this,” says Nystrom. “I think folks all across the state are witnessing what has become an epic conversation.”

“We haven’t had the conversation truly to the point that a true fix has been proposed and accepted by elected officials,” he says.

Henderson also speaks with Adie Tomer, a fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program who leads that organization’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative.

“The tough thing about this is that the states that are doing the best…they prioritize maintenance,” says Tomer. “States that are more willing to prioritize maintenance over capacity expansions have been able to see better grades in terms of the quality of their roads.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.