Officials look past May snowstorm to spring road construction

Across the Upper Peninsula, MDOT is looking ahead to starting more projects in late May.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 7:01 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Spring seems to have finally arrived in Upper Michigan.

The Marquette County Road Commission is starting to refill potholes. Director of Operations Ross Olsen said the early May snowstorm slowed down crews patching up roads.

“The extra moisture makes it hard to keep the patch in the holes,” Olsen said. “Anytime there’s water on the road, the traffic will blow the loose asphalt and patch out of the holes as long as there’s water on the road.”

Olsen also said the snowstorm caused some delays related to weight restrictions on the roads.

“It pushed those back another week or so, the ground is wet, saturated everywhere, so we can’t haul full loads, contractors can’t haul a full load yet. Hopefully, Monday the 22, south of US-41 weight restrictions will be lifted,” Olsen said. “It put us two weeks back on some of the things we’d do with the restrictions on - sweeping, grating.”

Across the Upper Peninsula, MDOT is looking ahead to starting more projects in late May.

Spokesperson Dan Weingarten said the snowstorm two weeks ago is a prime example on why projects start later in the month.

“We don’t typically start projects in May because it’s unpredictable, the weather is unpredictable in the Upper Peninsula, and we know that from year to year,” Weingarten said. “Most of our projects start later in May or in June.”

Weingarten said there were some delays because of the snowstorm.

“We had a pavement marking contract in the central Upper Peninsula that we weren’t able to get started when we had hoped because you can’t put down paint on wet asphalt,” Weingarten said. “Also our US-41 project, which is wrapping up now into its third year, there was a little bit of work there left from last year. We had hoped to start that on May 1st and that was the day the snowstorm hit.”

That project is in Houghton. As more road repairs start, both Olsen and Weingarten remind drivers to be careful and aware in construction zones.