Deteriorating Roads Continue to Plague Michigan Residents


A Michigan woman who was struck in the head by a football-sized piece of concrete has brought attention back to the deteriorating conditions of the state's roadways. 

CBS Detroit reports that the woman was traveling on I-696 when a piece of concrete broke loose from the pavement and crashed through her windshield, rendering her unconscious and causing her to crash into another vehicle.

She was in critical condition as of 4 p.m. on May 17 and has since undergone facial reconstruction surgery. 

Police were initially unsure where the large chunk of concrete had come from, but it was later determined that it was not sitting on the road. Rather, it was the road.

"The concrete wasn't on the road; it was part of 696 itself," Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police told CBS Detroit.

But this isn't the only location where potholes are putting Michigan residents in danger.

Road conditions across Michigan have drivers and officials worried about the state's infrastructure. Though roads showed a 2% improvement between 2015 and 2016, according to the most recent data from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, the state's infrastructure is still in need of improvements sooner rather than later.

Depending on exposure to traffic, concrete sealed with epoxy can last up to 10 years. But spring thaws can damage even the strongest concrete, as was the case across the metro Detroit area this season. In an interview with CBS Detroit, Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross explained that a pothole can develop much faster than people may think.

"A pothole can develop in moments," Cross said. 

According to Cross, melting ice combined with "just the right weight, just the right angle, whatever," can form a pothole in mere minutes

The combination of poorly maintained roads and other driving hazards, such as the average drunk driver, who will get behind the wheel at least 80 times before their first arrest, gives Michigan drivers a lot to worry about.

Cross told the Associated Press that the Michigan Department of Transportation is currently applying for funding in a major reconstruction project for the state's roadways, but it won't become a reality until 2020. In the meantime, Cross, Shaw, and other Michigan officials are urging residents to report any potholes to the MDOT Pothole Hotline at 888-296-4546.

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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