Potholes in West Michigan: What You Need To Know

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jan 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-12 22:46:51-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Potholes are popping up across West Michigan, damaging cars and frustrating drivers.

The Kent County Road Commission was out filling potholes Saturday — but as the temperatures drop, they have to focus on making freezing roads safe.

A lot of West Michigan citizens have dealt with the pothole problem firsthand this weekend, like Alia Williams. She ran into one in Battle Creek.

“We heard this loud thump,” Williams said, “and the car just starts rolling and feels like it’s hitting something repeatedly.”

Her car had to be towed away with two cracked rims and flat tires.

The same thing happened to Chris Taylor in Grand Rapids.

“Next thing I know I’m driving and ‘clunk.’ It was about an 8 inch pothole,” he said.

Taylor adds these are the worst road conditions he’s seen this early in the year.

The Utah Department of Transportation says potholes form when snow and rain seep into the roads foundation layers, decreasing their strength. Low temperatures make the surface layers brittle and freeze water foundation layers. As the water freezes and thaws, expanding and shrinking, it further cracks and weakens the road.

The weakened road can no longer support the weight of traffic and potholes form instantly.

If you hit a pothole:

– Call your insurance company.  Most recommend taking pictures of the damage.

– To file a claim for state roads head to or call (616) 464-1800.

– Local agencies have their own ways of reporting potholes and damage to your car. Road commissions say it’s important to report potholes online or by calling their safety departments as new holes form.

– The state must have been made aware of a pothole for 30 days without repairing it in order for a claim to be made eligible for reimbursement.