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Michigan's roads - A sign of Spring

There’s another sign that winter never really came to Michigan this year.   And it can be found along the state’s roads.

Every year in preparation for the Spring thaw, county road commissions impose weight restrictions on trucks to reduce wear on roadbeds made brittle by winter’s cold.     But not this year.

About two/thirds of Michigan road commissions haven’t imposed restrictions, and most probably won’t, because freezing winter weather never materialized.    

John Niemela is the director of the County Road Association of Michigan.      He says road commissions expect fewer problems with potholes and other normal winter weather damage.

And Niemela says less money spent cleaning up from the winter months means more can be spent dealing with other needs.

"“(They) might be able to get a road paved or chip sealed …or some other activities for the year," says Niemela.

Niemela says its unlikely a very late winter cold snap will greatly affect Michigan’s roads. 

How unusual has this winter been?    Niemela says normally this time of year frost is burrowed down about 8 feet into the soil in the Upper Peninsula.   This year, he says it’s only about three feet. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.