Why are the Roads So Bad in Michigan?

Why are the Roads So Bad in Michigan?

Potholes are easily the most common thing you can see in Michigan roads, apart from the numerous cracks and signs of years of disrepair. Avoiding them can cause traffic delays as well as car damage from bent rims to flat tires. Worse, bad roads can lead to traffic accidents that can damage property and injure motorists. The following are some of the reasons why Michigan’s roads are as bad as they are now.


Residents agree that there is a lack of preventive maintenance where roads are concerned. Repairs are only implemented once cracks and potholes appear, with no program for preventive repaving done on a regular basis to prevent potholes from forming. Repaving protects the underlying road and prevents the formation of cracks and potholes, which are far more difficult and more costly to repair in the long run. This neglect has been going on for decades, making it even more impossible to slap on ordinary repairs on most state roads. In some cases, some roads have reached a state of disrepair that complete road replacement becomes the only solution.

Lack of Funding

According to one local engineer, funding for state roads comes exclusively from gas taxes, the full amount of which is not spent on state roads. Michigan donates a certain amount from gas tax revenues to the federal fund, further decreasing the amount set aside for its roads. In fact, Michigan’s budget for roads is among the lowest in the nation per capita. Michigan also has to contend with increasing engineering, design and maintenance costs, which means that it has to prioritize the high traffic roads when looking at permanent repairs and construction to make roads last 20 to 30 years. The rest have to make-do with patch jobs like overlays and chip seals that last 5 years at best. Even with a recently-approved funding of $175 million to address the condition of the roads, experts are saying that this is not a permanent solution and can only help slow down the deterioration of state roads.

Lack of Political Consensus

Another issue that is hampering the implementation of long-term solutions is the lack of agreement between state and federal governments on how to address this problem. Voters also rejected a statewide ballot for tax increases that would have increased funding for road repairs.


Geography also makes regular road maintenance more difficult in Michigan. The state experiences harsh winters with many freeze and thaw cycles every year. Heavy rain and flooding strong enough to wash roads exacerbate the condition of dilapidated roads. Authorities are left with the option of having to conduct repairs twice, first to make the roads passable and the second one for permanent repairs, with the latter often done during the summer months.

Weight Limits

Michigan roads are accessible to all kinds of heavy trucks. Weight limits in the state are twice as high as in other states. This is not helping the condition of roads that are already in a state of disrepair.

Bad roads in Michigan are causing more vehicle damages that require extensive repairs. And while distracted driving and drunk driving are among the leading causes of accidents in Michigan, bad roads also contribute significantly to a motorist’s risk of getting caught in an accident. Bad roads make driving unsafe and the failure to provide this basic infrastructure makes the government liable.

If you have been involved in a car accident in one of Michigan’s roads, the state of the roads could be partly to blame. A Detroit auto crash lawyer can help you establish liability so you can collect the damages you need to help you recover from any losses sustained in the accident. Speak out to force the government to prioritize your roads so this doesn’t happen to more motorists. Talk to your lawyer today.





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