Tire terrors plague Benzie County roads
Roads are taking a toll on northern Michigan drivers and their cars, especially in Benzie County.
There's a bad stretch of pavement of US-31 heading north just past Beulah and right before Honor. The rough part of the road is only a mile or two long, but is full of hills, twists, and what the Michigan Department of Transportation refers to as, joints.
MDOT says that joints are similar to potholes in how they form, but stretch across the road instead of in one spot. They are elevated like speed bumps and can be very hard to miss.
Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel says the joints form year after year, but that the conditions are much worse this time around.
"If you're a local here you know it and you expect it and you kind of slow down for it but if you're not from here and you're not expecting it and you hit it...it can really wake you up really quick," said Schendel.
One Benzie County man says he had to swerve so much to miss the bumps that a deputy pulled him over because he thought that he had been drinking. The man was not issued a ticket.
Despite the 55mph speed limit, Schendel says it's better to slow down when driving through the area and to stay alert.
"There's three I would say big bumps that if you're not paying attention will really cause you some concern as you're going over them because for whatever reason this year, and again I'm thinking it's due to the weather, it's the worst it's ever been," said Schendel.
The highway is managed by MDOT. MDOT Transportation Service Center Manager, Rise Rasch, says that when the weather warms up they will try to level things out the best that they can.
"This is indicative of a road that really does need a longer term repair and it's just another example of where we have been underfunded over the years and we don't have anything long range planned in the works for that section of roads," said Rasch.
Rasch says that MDOT crews will be putting signs up in the area early next week to warn drivers to slow down.