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Pothole Patrol

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) The U.S. Department of Transportation ranks Michigans roads as some of the worst in the entire country.

Now, in the wake of the worst winter on record in three decades, Michigans potholed roads are causing even more headaches for drivers.

Pothole complaints from Newschannel 3 viewers have flooded our newsroom this spring. Newschannel 3s Lourin Sprenger took a look at some of the hardest hit areas and what is being done to solve the pothole problem.

No one is immune to potholes on Michigan roads, but weve learned that when it comes to a long term solution, the problem will likely get worse before it gets better.

Here in West Michigan, were all familiar with defensive driving, forced to dodge craters in the roadways on a daily basis, anywhere we go.

Not just more potholes, some of them are worse than what weve seen in 15, 20 years, said Nick Schirripa of MDOT.

Newschannel 3 wanted to know what areas where hardest hit and with nearly 600 comments posted on Facebook, we learned no area is off limits.

Its been a rough winter, said Schirippa, compounded with the fact that we havent had the proper investment.

From rural roads in Battle Creek to high-traffic city streets in Kalamazoo and Portage to major state trunk lines like the stretch of I-94 near Decatur, potholes are popping up everywhere.

Its a daily battle, said Schirippa.

As quickly as potholes spring up, road crews say theyre working to patch them, but some feel its just putting a band-aid on a much larger issue.

I think it could get worse before it gets better, said Rusty Stafford, who is part of a grassroots effort to fix Michigan roads.

Stafford has worked on Michigans roads for the last 30 years. He says the only way were going to see change is to make a long-term investment.

What might be a simple repaving now, two years from now could be a complete reconstruct at 100 percent of the cost, said Stafford.

Stafford and a few dozen others across Michigan are writing local lawmakers to call attention on a county level. Stafford says hes been forced to take a different way to work to avoid bumpy roads in Portage.

We are concerned about the image of Michigan, the impact the poor infrastructure has on our industries, said Stafford.

Its the funding for a project with a two billion dollar price tag thats the problem.

Its going to take a fundamental change in what people are willing to pay for, said Stafford.

Until then road crews will keep patching, a project they say will continue throughout the summer.

You cant blame road entities for maintaining roadways properly, they are doing the best with what they have, you can blame legislators for not allocating enough, said Schirippa.

In 2014 lawmakers approved $100 million in funding to help fix the roads, but its a one-time deal.

Governor Rick Snyder tells Newschannel 3 that hes now open to the idea of cancelling a tax cut in favor of putting some money into the roads.

Tonight at 11:00 pm, Newschannel 3 is taking a closer look at the impact the roads are having on your car and who is responsible for the fix.