GR pothole problems require added patience

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Beware of the 1500 block of Muskegon Avenue on Grand Rapids’ northwest side.

“It was small when it began, now the whole road’s crumbling,” said Muskegon Avenue resident Jean Rackes as she stood near the multiple potholes that have formed in front of her home near Harrison Park Middle School. “Most (cars) go up on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road just to avoid it… or they’ll cut through the parking lot of the school.”

The potholes on Muskegon Avenue NW are listed as ticket number 160114 on the city’s 311 app.

Rackes has reported it twice: a few weeks ago, and again over the weekend.

“(If) they would have come out three weeks ago when we first complained, it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad as it is now,” Rackes said.

Rackes isn’t getting any argument from the city. Officials admit that they’re having a hard time keeping up.

“This is a map of all the service requests we’ve received over the last 45 days,” Grand Rapids Public Services Director James Hurt said as he showed 24 Hour News 8 heat map of the reported locations.

The map uses color to highlight the areas where the pothole problems are the worst.

“On (the) Michigan area, we know we’ve got quite a bit of complaints out there,” Hurt said.

It should come as no surprise that the numbers are way above normal.

Pothole reports, made through the 311 app, on the city’s website and through calls to the city, make up 1,200 complaints over the last month and a half.

And when crews get to the scene, they’re finding several potholes for every single complaint.

No less than eight crews are working day and night shifts, trying to keep up with the complaints, and they’re filling about 1,000 potholes per shift.

But the season is just getting started.

“Our goal is to try to get to these potholes within 48 hours,” Hurt said. “But given the number of potholes that we have, it’s almost impossible that we’re there within 24 to 48 hours.”

So how long did it take for the city to respond to ticket number 160114?

Crews showed up Monday afternoon, two weeks after Jean Racks first reported the craters.

They fixed the hole, but the conditions that cause them remains — temperatures warm up, and then drop again.

The city is buying extra equipment and bringing in more personnel to attack the problem. But a more permanent fix will have to wait until asphalt becomes available.

Those plants usually open in early April.

 

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On the web:

Report a pothole in Grand Rapids

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