Working through the winter

Manistee crews fill potholes; police to enforce alternate parking

MANISTEE — Michigan winters are known for unpredictable weather, out-of-season temperatures and seemingly endless snow storms.

This winter in particular has been quite different than in years past.

So far, Manistee County has received 30 inches of snow, as recorded on Jan. 8 by the Manistee County Road Commission. At the same time last year snowfall hit 100 inches.

More snow is on its way in the coming days, but early this week the Department of Public Works (DPW) was able to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and patch potholes in areas of Manistee.

A crew was spotted in areas along U.S. 31 and in front on Manistee Catholic Central on Tuesday morning. This time of the year can be harsh on the roads, especially with this year’s flux in temperatures.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), “Potholes are created when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan’s seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, creating a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens leading to a pothole.”

According to MDOT, drivers are asked to report potholes at its website, where one can pinpoint the location of the pothole and describe its size, depth and overall danger to passing vehicles.

Drivers can also call (888) 296-4546 to report a pothole on a state road (any road beginning with M, I or US designations).

Crews in the City of Manistee and Manistee County are also gearing up for the next storm, as the National Weather Service predicts a chance of snow for each day this week.

Today, the forecast predicts new snow accumulation of around an inch and another possible inch overnight, which accompanies temperatures in the upper 20s.

On Thursday, a chance of snow showers is predicted before 1 p.m. and after midnight. Friday follows suit, with snow showers predicted after 1 p.m.

However, the forecast is likely to change.

As the snow arrives, Jeff Mikula, DPW director, reminded residents at a recent Manistee City Council meeting to be mindful of alternate parking. Alternate parking violaters hinder snow plows from clearing streets, especially in narrow areas.

“As everybody can tell, we are in the heart of winter now,” he said, at the meeting on Jan. 2. “I just want to remind all of the citizens that alternate parking is extremely important for the plow crews to be able to get up and down the streets.”

The ordinance is in effect 24-hours a day, seven days a week until April 15. On even dates residents should park on the even numbered side of the street; odd dates — park on odd numbered side of the street.

The change-over time is between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., allowing residents to switch their vehicles for the upcoming day.

Also during the meeting, Mikula said local police is increasing enforcement of the ordinance.

“I have asked chief (Tim) Kozal to increase the enforcement of that, because we are having some issues with people parking on both sides,” Mikula said. “It makes it very difficult and unsafe for the plows to get through.”

Violators face fines of $40, if paid within 14 days. After 14 days the fine is $100. If not paid within the additional 14 days, the citation is turned over to a collection agency.

Residents should also keep in mind that the practice of pushing snow onto or across the plowed portion of the roadway or shoulders is both dangerous and illegal (Act No. 82, Public Acts of 1978).

Those performing this action could be held liable for property damage or personal injury resulting from accidents it could potentially cause. People are asked to routinely remove snow from around their mail and newspaper boxes, so they are visible to the snowplow drivers.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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