Crumbling Michigan roads can cost families on average $5,000 a year

From Mound Road to Joy Road, a lot of roads in Metro Detroit need TLC

Some call them death craters, and if you own a car in Michigan, you know that you don’t need to drive far to find a road that needs repair. Studies show the true cost of Michigan’s crumbling roads and how residents seem to be the ones who end up paying for it. A National Transportation Research Nonprofit estimates Michigan road conditions cost the average household $5,000 a year.

DETROIT – Some call them death craters, and if you own a car in Michigan, you know that you don’t need to drive far to find a road that needs repair.

Studies show the true cost of Michigan’s crumbling roads and how residents seem to be the ones who end up paying for it. A National Transportation Research Nonprofit estimates Michigan road conditions cost the average household $5,000 a year.

Based on MDOT data, more than one in 10 bridges in Michigan are structurally deficient, and nearly half of the road pavement is in poor condition.

The National Transportation Research Nonprofit says at this rate, road repair funding in Michigan has fallen so far behind it will be highly challenging for the state to catch up.

RELATED: Gov. Whitmer directs MDOT to use all available resources to speed up Michigan pothole repair

“We just don’t have a sustainable funding mechanism right now, and for us, that means we can get your pothole in 48 hours and put the bandaid down, but we just don’t have enough money for the asphalt for a complete road replacement,” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said.

Michigan will receive a federal investment of $9 billion for roads, highways and bridges over the next four years. But, without a consistent investment, the nonprofit estimates the annual cost to drivers will exceed $6,000 over the next decade.

“With all of the money you have for the roads, what roads are you fixing?” said a Detroit resident. “So, where is all this money going all these years?”

And it’s not just money that is affected by the roads: A pre-pandemic study found that commuters waste an average of 54 hours a year stuck in traffic.

RELATED: Michigan pothole season: How to report potholes, damage mitigation tips


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital Producer and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.