Tecumseh area roads take beating from harsh winter

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Tecumseh Department of Public Works Supt. Tim Bock said Tecumseh is in the same boat as other communities this year with roadways being more damaged than usual from this year’s harsh winter.

“We’ve been working on potholes already, and started that last week,” said Bock. “It’s not ideal because everything is frozen.”

City crews first have to chip ice and snow from the holes then use a blower to try to remove excess material that may remain inside, according to Bock.

“It’s cold patch, but we keep the material in a garage that’s about 45 degrees so at least it’s not frozen, and then we run it through a ‘hot box’ to get some heat on it as we’re shoveling it out,” Bock added. “That way it packs in a little bit better.” He said the box is something that the crews put together to help make their job a little easier.

While it’s still pretty early to be having to work on potholes, Bock said there are so many and it’s going to be difficult to keep up with them this year.

“We’ll probably be devoting at least a couple of days a week to them. We do whatever we have to do to take care of the emergencies,” he said. “When you’ve got a great big hole, you can’t have people driving through them. You’ve got to do something with it.” Bock said that state crews had been out on M-50 on Saturday as well.

He’s not sure how well the material will last because of the condition of the roads and the fact that it is still winter. And the changing temperatures have brought on other problems as well. Motorists may have noticed the ripples in some roads, such as the older part of Russell Road near Zorn Park.

“That’s because of the frost,” said Bock. “It’s kind of like when you go into Busch’s or the bank and the doors catch the ground when there’s frost in it. Usually those things settle back down eventually. I hope the same thing happens with the roads.”

City workers have tried to concentrate on major roadways, he said, since they are more heavily traveled. “But we’ve been on the local streets as well and will continue to be.” He said fortunately, some of the streets that were paved more recently haven’t posed as many problems as others.

The full effect on this year’s budget is yet to be determined, but Bock said overall, the funding is set for each budget and that’s what the departments get to use.

“I don’t know that we’re necessarily over budget, but we may have to dip into what might have been putting asphalt down to do maintenance,” he said. “It could be mostly maintenance this year.”

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