Michigan potholes so big, they're awarded prizes

As we told you a couple weeks back, Michigan roads are a mess. The orange barrels keep popping up all over the place, but for every road that is fixed, two begin to crumble. The problem has been ongoing for decades, and it has gotten to the point where finding Chevette-sized craters can net you some serious prizes.

The Michigan Transportation Team staged a month-long competition to get pictures and stories of the best potholes in Michigan, and the nearly 70 contestants captured some real craters. Four, first prize winners received $318 "service center scholarships" for their troubles, and the MTT also named four honorable mention photos due to the abundance of quality entries. The four winning photos are pictured above, and the other pics are available by clicking on the link below.

If you neglected to send in a picture of a concrete Michigan man-hole, you'll likely have a good chance to win next year, since the mitten state has a $2.7 billion road repair shortfall. Last month I bent my front passenger rim (pictured, right) on a Pontiac pothole, so I've already got my entry. Hit the jump to read the MTT press release. Thanks for the tip, Jed!

[Source: Drive Michigan]

PRESS RELEASE: Pothole Contest Winners Announced
link: Pothole Contest Winners Announced

LANSING - A coalition working to secure more funding to fix Michigan's roads and bridges today announced four "service station scholarship" winners of a month-long contest to identify the worst rim-bending potholes in the state.

The judges chose award-winning potholes in Walker, Waterford, Saginaw and Jackson. To view the photos, visit www.drivemi.org/potholes.

"This was an extremely difficult decision because of the sheer number of potholes submitted that would do serious damage to your car," said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) and co-chair of the Michigan Transportation Team. "With Michigan having the worst pothole season in history, there were so many craters to choose from."

The contest, sponsored by the Michigan Transportation Team (MTT), awarded $318 "service center scholarships" to help offset vehicle repairs due to the poor condition of Michigan's roads and bridges. The winners were chosen from almost 70 entries from all over the state. Pothole winners were:
• O'Brien Road, Walker
• S. Jackson St., Jackson
• Irwin Dr., Waterford
• Veterans Memorial Parkway, Saginaw

Due to the stiff competition of frame-busting pothole pictures, the MTT also gave honorable mention recognition to a number of potholes across the state:
• Dean Lake Rd., Grand Rapids Township
• Stadium and W. Michigan Dr., Kalamazoo
• Lafayette and Division St., Grand Rapids
• Ford Rd., Canton
• John R., Detroit

"The contest was a fun way to highlight a serious problem, but there is nothing fun about dodging enormous potholes and driving on dangerous roads," said Nystrom.

The contest was part of an ongoing effort to educate policymakers that the dire condition of Michigan's roads are a serious threat to public safety and a roadblock to business development in the state. MTT is pushing for legislators to take these crumbling roads seriously by addressing the lack of transportation funding and the risk that this "season" poses to drivers in Michigan.

Michigan has an annual funding shortfall of $700 million for its state transportation system and a shortfall of more than $2 billion for local roads. This funding pothole is due to massive cuts to the state's road and bridge program because of declining gas tax revenues. This year alone the state's road and bridge program dropped by $300 million or 18 percent.

MTT is a broad-based, bi-partisan partnership of business, labor, local government, associations and citizens linked with the common goal of improving Michigan's transportation infrastructure. The DriveMI campaign is committed to promoting the development and maintenance of a safe, convenient and efficient transportation network that serves the public, private and economic development needs of Michigan. Please visit www.drivemi.org for more information on transportation funding.

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