Grand Haven declares 'war on potholes'

Alex Doty • Mar 8, 2018 at 10:00 AM

As much as flowers and foliage bloom during the springtime, the annual freeze/thaw cycle means potholes are also sprouting up across roads throughout the state. 

Using a collaborative approach, Grand Haven officials say they’ve developed a plan to eliminate potholes on city streets this season, announcing a “war on potholes” during Monday night’s City Council meeting. 

On the frontline of the battle is the city’s Department of Public Works, which has crews running two shifts each day to fill potholes all over town.

“Our crews start at 7 a.m. and end at 11 p.m.,” Public Works Director Derek Gajdos said. “Every day, we are out at some point (filling potholes).”

These potholes add to an already dire situation for Michigan's roads, which earned a D-minus grade in a new report on the state’s infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers Michigan Section. According to a report by The Associated Press, part of that reasoning came from the fact that 39 percent of Michigan's 120,000 miles of roads are rated in poor condition, while another 43 percent are rated in fair condition. 

Gajdos said the city department relies on a mix of ways in order to find and repair potholes, including crews self-identifying potholes while they’re out and about, and via calls to the city and DPW from residents using the online SeeClickFix app. The app can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android, and it allows people to report potholes — and other issues in the city — in real time. Potholes and other private property maintenance issues can also be reported, and city code enforcement officers can review and encourage private owners to correct these issues as needed.

Aiding the DPW in the repair effort will be a new $43,000 asphalt roller. On Feb. 19, City Council authorized the purchase of the machine.

“It is a replacement piece of equipment,” Gajdos said. “Our old roller is 24 years old. It’ll help us with those large potholes.”

In addition to the work at the street level, the city’s finance department is working with the DPW to identify funds to be used to resurface streets. 

City officials note that work this year and in 2019 may be joined together to achieve the best price for street work to be done next spring. 

The state Legislature recently approved additional street funding for communities throughout Michigan. This brought Grand Haven more than $80,000 for additional street repairs this year. 

“Armed with the extra funding from the state and our new asphalt roller, our faithful and loyal DPW crews are the first line of offense in the war on potholes everywhere,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said.

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