GR gets early jump on battling potholes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The ride down Century Avenue SW south of Hall Street is slow, and it has nothing to do with the speed limit or stop signs: It’s because of the potholes.

You can dodge some of the craters. Others are unavoidable.

“This could be the worst road in Grand Rapids — maybe in Michigan,” motorist Tom Hall said. “It’s like a third-world country.”

It’s not just Century Avenue. Pick a route in any quadrant of the city and you’ll find pothole season has come early.   generic pothole

Hall said he often has to stop and then creep over a pothole.

“Otherwise you’re going to ruin your car,” he said. “Ruin your tires. Ruin your rims.”

And that will ruin your day.

In response, the city is mobilizing the troops. Nine trailers with steaming piles of cold patch have hit the streets. Two crews work during the day and seven work at night when there’s less traffic.

Cold patch is used to fill a pothole in Grand Rapids. (Feb. 25, 2014)

It’s all part of the early effort to get ahead of the pothole proliferation.

“But the fix is going look second-rate. It’s not going to be a permanent fix ’til we have hot asphalt later this spring,” City Manager Greg Sundstrom said.

The problem is that plants don’t begin making asphalt until April.

City officials know the cold patches are temporary. They’re asking for drivers to have patience.

“We will fill the hole, but it won’t stick. It’s not a long-term fix. It’s only temporary until hot asphalt becomes available,” Sundstrom said.

When spring finally does arrive, Sundstrom says the city will increase its efforts to give potholes a more permanent fix.

“We want to gear up even more for this spring. We’re talking about putting more boxes on back of pickups so we can get more crews out,” Sundstrom said.

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