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If you are reporting a pothole that poses an immediate danger, please contact GTCRC at (231) 922-4848.
For all other potholes, please report using the map below or by using the GTCRC Citizen Problem Reporter here. If you have a picture of the pothole, please include it when you report via Citizen Problem Reporter.
Potholes occur when snow and ice melt during Michigan’s seasonal freeze-thaw cycle. The resulting water seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic. As the temperatures cool to freezing overnight, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to pound on this raised section – and the temperatures once again rise above freezing – a shallow divot occurs under the surface and the pavement breaks, forming a pothole.
A pothole is typically fixed by cleaning out the loose debris and filling it with hot or cold asphalt patch.
While Road Commissions have a statutory duty to keep roads in reasonable repair so that they are reasonably safe and convenient for public travel, Road Commissions do not have a statutory duty to remove natural accumulations, like roadkill carcasses, from county roads under their jurisdiction. Grand Traverse County Road Commission elects to manage roadkill carcasses as a courtesy to the public as follows
In cases where the hazard to public travel cannot be eliminated through adherence to these steps, either closing the roadway until the hazard no longer exists or other disposal methods may be considered.
Roadside GTCRC typically mows along paved county roads twice and unpaved county roads periodically / as needed (usually late-May through October). GTCRC does not routinely mow in dense residential areas / along subdivision roads.
GTCRC does not mow or clear brush for driveway sight distance. Driveway sight distance is the responsibility of the property owner. GTCRC does work to clear overgrown brush near county road intersections that are blocking sight distance. If you know of an intersection that needs to be addressed, please click here to report the issue.
Our operators take pride in leaving a professional-looking result. However, wood chips, leaf debris, sticks, etc. may often remain. A small amount of debris is to be expected and will not be removed (it will compost naturally). However, if a significant mess is overlooked, please contact us right away.
You may absolutely mow on your property. GTCRC considers roadside maintenance a team effort and is pleased to have property owners as partners in this vital safety program. This is why the GTCRC is eager to accommodate property owners who prefer to handle vegetation control themselves. This kind of joint effort benefits both GTCRC and the property owners.
GTCRC will remove trees within the road right-of-way that are dead or dying. If you know of a tree that needs to be evaluated for removal, please click here to report the issue. Alternatively, property owners are welcome to remove the tree in the road right-of-way adjacent to their property themselves. GTCRC does require that property owners obtain a permit prior to conducting work in the road right-of-way (there would be no fee for a permit to remove a tree).
Please note that GTCRC receives a large number of requests to service dead or dying trees. Unfortunately, pests/diseases like oak wilt, emerald ash borer, etc. limit the cutting season. A significant wait-time from when your request is received until GTCRC (or our contractors) are able to respond should be expected. GTCRC will prioritize removing trees, limbs or branches that have fallen across the traveled portion of the roadway.
GTCRC will attempt to minimize impact to trees whenever possible, but there are times when trees along public roads need to be trimmed or removed. Generally, the following criteria will be considered by staff to determine if tree trimming or tree removal is necessary:
Michigan State law governs the methods by which speed limits are established on the county road system. The methods for establishing speed limits are based on empirical evidence and practices that are used throughout the country. These methods are designed to promote uniform operating speed across the driving population and to provide the safest conditions possible.
GTCRC follows the process outlined by the Michigan State Police for establishing realistic speed limits. Click here to read MSP’s procedure.
GTCRC has no jurisdiction on private roads. Speed limits on a private road may be determined by property owners, homeowners’ association (if applicable) or other governing body. Some townships may have a private road ordinance addressing this issue.
If there are already speed limit signs posted on your road, GTCRC is not likely to put additional speed limit signs along that section. Signs are placed strategically based on the road segment. Too many signs along a roadway, too close together can be counterproductive; motorists are either distracted by them or don’t read any signs because there are too many. If an existing sign is damaged or missing, GTCRC will replace it. Please click here to report an issue.
Many of GTCRC roads do not have a speed limit posted. Michigan state law has set prima facie speed limits. Prima facie is Latin for “on the face of it” and is the speed limit under most circumstances. The prima facie speed limit on unmarked, unpaved roads is 55 mph and the prima facie speed limit in business or residential areas is 25 mph. These speed limits are set legislatively and apply throughout the state.
If you would like a segment of road evaluated for more signage, Please click here to create an Engineering Inquiry.
Contrary to popular belief, the GTCRC isn’t able to change the speed limit on a road. The process for modifying a speed limit involves the Michigan State Police, the township board, and the road commission and typically requires engineering / safety / speed studies along with traffic investigations. More information on this can be referenced here: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2015-2016/publicact/pdf/2016-PA-0447.pdf
When it comes to changing the passing zones on county roads, GTCRC follows the guidelines provided by the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD). New driveways, subdivision streets or private roads do not warrant a “no passing zone”.
To request a passing zone review, click submit an Engineering Inquiry using the Citizen Problem Reporter app here.
No. Hidden driveway signs are not an acceptable sign according to the MMUTCD. This type of sign is typically ignored by motorists and gives a false sense of security to those using the driveway. For these reasons, GTCRC will not install hidden driveway signs along our roadways. Property owners are responsible for maintaining the required sight distance for a driveway.
Guardrail is a useful roadside safety tool, but it is not appropriate to protect against every roadside hazard. In the wrong applications, guardrail itself is a hazard.
Guardrail is only appropriate when the result of a vehicle striking the guardrail barrier will be less severe than a crash resulting from hitting the unshielded hazard. For example, guardrail is usually not an appropriate solution to a single tree sitting too close to the road since a guardrail is just another fixed object like the tree. Guardrail is appropriate to protect road users from a large water feature or very steep slope.
To determine if a guardrail is necessary, GTCRC will evaluate the location and decide based on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadside Design Guide.
To request guardrail in a new location or report existing guardrail that has been damaged, use the Citizen Problem Reporter app here.
If a traffic signal is dark - please contact us immediately at 231-922-4848
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, when a signal loses power, the intersection should be treated as a four-way stop:
If the missing or damaged stop sign is on a public county road, please contact GTCRC at 231-922-4848 immediately to report the issue. GTCRC crews will respond in a timely manner to replace the missing or damaged stop sign.
It is illegal to post unauthorized signs, including campaign signs, in the public road right-of-way (generally 10-15 ft from the edge of the traveled portion of the road) or attach them to GTCRC property along the roadside (example: road sign or sign post). They can create distractions for drivers and take attention away from important safety-related signs. They can also become safety hazards during routine road maintenance operations such as roadside mowing.
GTCRC has the right to remove unauthorized signs from the road right-of-way and dispose of them without notice. While GTCRC does not have the resources to remove every illegal sign placed in the right-of-way, it prioritizes removing signs that are a safety hazard or in the way of pending maintenance.
Please click here to report an issue.
No. Signs for private businesses or residents are not allowed to be placed in the road right-of-way (generally 10 – 15 feet from the edge of the road). GTCRC has the authority to remove illegally placed signs in the road right-of-way.
All precipitation falling from the sky, whether it is rain or snow, is considered stormwater once it hits the ground.
It is the responsibility of many government agencies and individual property owners to manage stormwater.
Unpaved road maintenance is weather-dependent, therefore GTCRC does not have a firm maintenance schedule. Grading can cause damage when roads are too wet. If the roads are too dry, dust can become a hazard for motorists and neighboring property owners. Typically, GTCRC grades gravel roads 2x per year (before a scheduled dust control application). Our crews are careful not to over-grade, which can cause unnecessary erosion and bigger maintenance problems in the future.
During the summer and fall, our crews are grading unpaved roads almost every day of the week. If they were to wait until there was no chance of rain in the forecast, they would never be able to keep up with grading the nearly 350 miles of unpaved roads we have in Grand Traverse County.
We do try and avoid grading a road before a major downpour but as with all weather, is difficult to predict with 100% accuracy. It’s also important to know that a little moisture on a road surface does help to soften the road surface which actually helps the graded road bind together better than when conditions are dry.
We can and do try, but thawing snow and frost pose challenges. As temperatures warm, what was once frozen turns soft and unstable and will remain this way until the moisture evaporates from the road bed. The best cure is warm, dry temperatures and a good wind. Adding gravel to muddy roads has little effect because the gravel mixes with the mud and creates more mud.
Once weather allows, it usually takes us 5-6 weeks each spring for us to grade every mile of unpaved road in the county.
Dust control, as with all unpaved road maintenance is weather-dependent, therefore GTCRC does not have a firm maintenance schedule available.
During the dry summer and fall months, usually May to October, our crews can help stabilize gravel roads by applying brine (a salt/water mixture) to the road surface. The application of brine decreases dust and attracts the right amount of moisture to help keep the gravel road held together.
Primary county roads receive two brine applications per season. The number of brine applications on local roads are determined each year by each individual township.
Like pothole patching on paved roads, filling small spots with gravel helps to keep the road surface safe for the traveling public.
Significant gravel hauls are considered resurfacing work and beyond routine maintenance. Applying gravel to help “lift” a road could cost between $50,000 - $75,000 per mile. Most unpaved roads are classified as local roads and therefore require a township directive and participation in funding.
In Grand Traverse County, most unpaved roads are classified as local roads. Unfortunately, the amount of state funding allocated towards local roads does not cover the costs of winter maintenance and road grading. Understanding that there is simply not enough funding to improve the County’s local roads, GTCRC has established a program which offers each township matching funds to promote partnership and encourage investment in local roads. Regulations require that a local road project’s funding must be at least 50% funded by a source other than Michigan Transportation Fund (GTCRC's main source of funding). This is accomplished typically through a township establishing a Special Assessment District.
GTCRC clears snow and ice from the county’s roads based on a priority system. Crews will clear highways and paved roads before moving onto gravel and subdivision roads. To learn more about our winter maintenance, view our FAQ.
On unpaved roads, crews plow snow and apply either sand or a mixture of sand and salt to provide traction for motorists. Straight salt is not applied to frozen gravel roads because it would thaw the road surface, making the road more susceptible to damage and material loss.
Paving is commonly deemed appropriate when traffic on a gravel road approaches 500 or more cars per day. Many gravel roads in Grand Traverse County experience traffic volumes well above this threshold. Unfortunately, current funding sources do not provide the GTCRC with the revenue to take on the costs of paving these roads. Paving gravel roads typically require a township directive and funding from a source other than the road commission.
Safety is the GTCRC’s top priority and when a storm hits and crews are tasked each day to keep roads as clear as possible. GTCRC performs winter maintenance activities in accordance with the following hierarchy:
Crews will begin on the First Priority and will advance to the Second Priority once clear. Similarly, crews will not advance to Third Priority until First and Second are clear. If it starts to snow again, GTCRC crews may leave lower priority roads to service the higher priority.
After a major storm or back-to-back storms, subdivision and gravel roads may not be cleared for several days due to the timing and the severity of the storm(s).
Please note that. with few exceptions, GTCRC conducts winter maintenance on public roads located outside of cities and village limits. Cities and villages provide winter maintenance with their own workforces.
If a GTCRC vehicle / equipment strikes a mailbox, GTCRC will offer a gift card to the property owner in an amount GTCRC deems appropriate to cover the materials required to restore mail service. GTCRC is not responsible for mailbox damage caused by impact of snow / ice / etc. thrown when plowing. Please click here to report an issue. Residents should prepare mailboxes for winter by tightening screws and ensuring the post and receptacle are secure enough to endure large amounts of thrown snow. If the mailbox moves when shaken, it may not withstand standard snow removal operations and should be repaired or replaced before winter.
As snow and ice is moved away from the road, it is inevitable that some will be deposited at the ends of driveways. Due to the geometry, driveways along curves and cul-de-sacs are likely to experience more snow in driveways than those driveways along straight segments of road. Cul-de-sacs without islands contain even more area which needs to be plowed and, as a result, even more snow in driveways should be expected. We understand that this can be frustrating, however it can be alleviated to a certain extent. To minimize extra work, GTCRC recommends that you shovel to the right side of your driveway (see graphic below). Shoveling an area large enough to hold the snow coming off a plow blade may help reduce the need for a “second shovel.”
In accordance with state laws - GTCRC is limited to conducting winter maintenance activity on all season public roads. Private roads and Seasonal Roads will not receive winter maintenance. GTCRC’s winter maintenance budget is funded solely by fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees collected by the State of Michigan. This income funds all day-to-day maintenance activities including snow plowing and salting.
The property tax you pay funds local and county government agencies (not day-to-day road maintenance). The local road millage tax that homeowners pay may only be used for certain road construction projects, not for winter maintenance.
Michigan’s new “Move Over” law requires motorists to slow down at least 10 mph below the posted limit and move over to an open lane. This applies to snowplows and other road maintenance vehicles as well as emergency responders.
While, there are no state laws that specifically prohibit passing a snowplow, it’s not recommended. Motorists should never pass a snowplow on the right. Our trucks are equipped a wing plow that can extend anywhere between 2-10 feet beyond the width of the truck.
GTCRC plow trucks are often operating in a low gear with high engine RPM to maintain the power and momentum needed to push the snow. The engine noise, swirling snow and ice flying away from the plow, and the large size of the equipment can make it appear that a plow truck is moving much faster than it actually is. GTCRC equipment is equipped with technology that is capable of tracking vehicle speed and these systems are regularly monitored. With this in mind, if you feel that a GTCRC employee is driving irresponsibly, please contact email@example.com with the time, location, and vehicle number so that the matter can be investigated.
The projected temperature of the road surface will impact the final treatment of a road. If plowing operations have finished and a road is still in “black and wet” condition there may a danger of the water on the road re-freezing. There are times, especially at night, when this post-storm salt application may be necessary.