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Pothole season is upon Michigan drivers; here's how you can report a problem

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jan 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-30 09:22:01-05

(WXYZ) — If you've lived in Michigan for one pothole season, you know the headache they can cause, so we talked to the road experts to help you navigate the problems.

"Oh I hate it," said Zack Alflen.

"It's awful. It just jars you," said Gail Kuhn.

If there's one thing we can all get behind, it's our disdain for potholes."I've blown out a tire on my car. It's awful and they're everywhere," said Alflen.

And don't blink, because before you know it, pothole season will be here.

"We do have potholes year round. It's far worse in the spring, as soon as we get the thaw," said Craig Bryson, Road Commission for Oakland County.

So how many reports of potholes does the Road Commission for Oakland County receive every year?

"We get probably thousands every year. We get about 40,000 contacts on variety of issues, and that's probably one of the biggest topics that people call us about," said Bryson.

The City of Detroit has some of the oldest roads in our region, some 80 or 100 years old.

"If you see something, let us know," said Dayo Akinyemi, Detroit Department of Public Works.

Detroit's deputy director for the Department of Public Works is urging people to report road problems, like a pothole, through their Improve Detroit app.

"We're likely going to have a lot of potholes. Sure. But one thing we are doing, DPW is prepared. We are proactively filling the potholes that do appear. So as we are clearing the snow, we have a crew that are ... patching the potholes," said Akinyemi.

"Just because something occurred that affected your vehicle on the road does not mean you're automatically going to be reimbursed," said Diane Cross, MDOT spokesperson.

Cross says you'll know if the State of Michigan is responsible for maintaining a roadway if it begins with an "I," "M" or "US."

Some roadways are maintained by the county and others are maintained by the city or village they're in. And you can usually find how to report a pothole on their respective websites where you can also report damage to see if they'll reimburse you.

"And to be fair, we don't pay most of them, because it's relatively unusual that there's a pothole that's bad enough to cause damage to a vehicle that's there for 30 days, and we don't know about it," said Bryson.

And that 30 day period is important, because under Michigan law, no governmental agency is liable for injuries or damages caused by defective highways unless the governmental agency knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known about it and 30 or more days passed and they didn't do anything about it.

Also important if you hit a pothole and can't drive to a safe place: "Do not get out of your car on the side of the road ... no matter the reason. Unless the car's on fire, do not get out of the car," said Cross.

To report a pothole problem, here's a list of resources:

For MDOT, reporting a pothole: https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9615_30883---,00.html

For MDOT, seeking reimbursement for damage: https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9615_30883_85656---,00.html

Report a pothole in Oakland County: https://www.rcocweb.org/184/How-to-Report-Potholes

File a claim in Oakland County: https://www.rcocweb.org/276/File-a-Damage-Claim

To report a pothole and file a damage claim in Wayne County: https://www.waynecounty.com/departments/publicservices/roads.aspx

In Macomb County, motorists can report a pothole here: https://roads.macombgov.org/Roads-Departments-Maintenance
And to try to get reimbursement: https://roads.macombgov.org/Roads-FAQs

In Detroit, start with the Improve Detroit app.

"We generally hold ourselves to a three day turnaround time three working days to go ahead and go to patch those potholes," said Akinyemi.