Metro Detroit potholes causing major headaches for local drivers

Posted at 6:27 AM, Feb 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-08 06:28:12-05

METRO DETROIT (WXYZ) — “This is the traitor right here... That is the ugly pothole, right there, the meanie,” said Dawna Kuhne McCowell, who got a flat tire from pothole recently.

It was a Friday night about two weeks ago when Dawna hit a pothole while heading north on Livernois in Troy while attempting to turn onto Big Beaver.

“All of the sudden I heard ‘bang,’ and all of the sudden my instrument panel light up, and the tire pressure on the left front tire started immediately like in ten seconds it was flat,” McCowell said.

It’s fair to say Dawna is not alone. But fixing them is a different story.

George Turmel, a truck drive with the Oakland County Road Commission has been patching potholes for Oakland County since 1993.

He showed 7 Action News the ropes.

It’s not easy work.

“What do you say when people complain about the potholes, because I mean there seems to be a lot of complaining out there, it’s frustrating,” 7 Action News asked Turmel.

“It is, and I just tell them. I have friends and family that tell me this doesn’t work, “why are you doing it like that, just replace the whole road.” But it comes down to, it’s very expensive. I tell them if you can find a better way to do it, please let us know and you’ll be a millionaire,” Turmoil said.

We’re told the potholes are a bit easier to maintain this year in Oakland County.

“We’ve resurfaced so many of what were the really bad roads. So we are not spending time on some of those roads anymore, not that there is a shortage of roads left but there’s not nearly as many as there used to be. The subdivisions are a big problem this year. We are spending a lot of overtime trying to get into those,” said Craig Bryson, senior communications manager the Oakland County Road Commission.

However in Macomb County, since the start of the year, the roads department has received more than 300 maintenance requests, compared to the 140 request in January of 2023.

Wayne County has eight maintenance facilities and two third-party vendors helping with patching potholes.

As for Dawna, luckily she had tire coverage, so she didn’t have to pay the $400 it would have taken to replace the tire.

But, she can’t get her time back. And time is money — especially as a real estate agent.

“For a weekend, yes, I was unable to show houses, and had to be on the eastside to show house on Sunday and couldn’t. So it was somewhat debilitating but I got through it.”

You can try to file a claim to get your money back, but getting that claim approved does not happen often.

For both the counties and the state, you have to prove three things.

They include:

  • The pothole was there and not in reasonable repair.
  • That the pothole was there for 30 days.
  • That the state or county could have repaired it but didn’t.

Most claims get denied because of government immunity laws.

However, if you do think you’d like to file a claim, take photos and document everything.