What are the worst potholes in Michigan? Send Bridge your photos.
- Send us your photos of bad potholes. We will use them as we investigate further
- Our investigation found that although roads cost $4.3 billion, most claims are denied
- Lawmakers say they are open to reforms
Have potholes or other defects on Michigan roads taken out your tires, set you back hundreds of bucks or otherwise derailed your plans as you tried to get from point A to point B?
We want to hear about it.
- Michigan denies almost all pothole repair claims, despite billions in damages
- Michigan pothole claims system is a mess: Four easy fixes (and a costly one)
- Where to file a pothole damage claim in Michigan for state, county roads
- How to get repair money for potholes, file a claim in Michigan. (Good luck)
Bridge Michigan investigated the highway damage claims process, sifting through hundreds of pages of complaints and spreadsheets over pothole claims and talking to numerous experts.
Here’s what we found:
- In a state where road conditions cost drivers $4.3 billion per year, Michigan’s system of reimbursing drivers for pothole or road damage is skewed against consumers.
- Damages are limited to $1,000, and drivers must prove the state or local road agencies knew about potholes and didn’t fix them in a reasonable amount of time. Most claims are denied: The state approved 7.9 percent of highway-related damage claims since 2018, while 78 of 83 counties surveyed by Bridge approved about 4 percent.
- In all, despite thousands of claims, state and county road agencies repaid less than $150,000 in over five years in Michigan.
- The claims process isn’t well known or advertised: Of Michigan’s 83 county road agencies, 20 have posted damage claim forms online or have readily available information on their websites about how to file one.
- Solutions are not complicated but have gone nowhere in recent years in the Legislature.
- Among the proposed reforms: Increasing the claim limit to $5,000, creating a $5 million pool to compensate drivers, streamlining the application process.
- Some current lawmakers say they are open to changing the system.
As Bridge continues to cover Michigan infrastructure and how it impacts the residents who use it every day, we’d like to hear your stories.
Send us photos of the pothole that sent your car to the repair shop, or of the car itself. If you’ve tried filing a claim with the state or a local road agency in the past, tell us about it. If you didn’t know this process existed, but have swallowed the extra costs of driving on Michigan roads, tell us about that, too.
You can find our submission form here.
See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:
- “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
- “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
- “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.
If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!