“We’ve got some areas that we are aware of already,” said Ryan Kemppainen, operations superintendent for the Ottawa County Road Commission. “As soon as spring gets here, we want to do a more permanent fix.”
Because the air is cold and roads still have the potential to be ice-covered, Road Commission crews are resorting to temporary fixes. These patches don’t last long, as plow trucks scrape out the patch material as soon as the snow falls again.
When and how many potholes arrive will likely be determined by how spring decides to come, Kemppainen said.
Additionally, the Road Commission today has implemented its spring weight restrictions. The restrictions are strictly enforced on all county roads under the commission's jurisdiction.
About $1 million more was spent this year on winter road maintenance than last year, Road Commission officials say.
“At the end of February, we spent $3.4 million this year on winter maintenance for our road system,” Kemppainen said. “We only account for $2.7 million for a normal year.”
Despite these overages, road officials are hopeful that the state government provides some relief.
“Our wintertime budget is quite a bit over, but the state Legislature is working on a bill that would (help the governments) after the winter,” Kemppainen said. “If that happens, we are going to be in really good shape. … We’re not the only ones in this predicament, and the state Legislature and the governor is aware of that.”
According to The Associated Press, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee amended a mid-year spending bill from the Senate to spend an extra $100 million for snowplowing and pothole repairs. The panel also plans $115 million for longer-lasting transportation projects.
State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, said she thinks it’s very critical to get funding for Michigan roads.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.