FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I submit a service request?
Call our Main Office at (231) 788-2381…press 1 -OR- email us via our Road Maintenance Service Request Link.

Where does the Road Commission get its operating funds?
The Road Commission's main source of funding is comprised of gas and weight taxes, as well as driver's license fees. It is distributed by the state through a formula, also known as ACT 51.  The Road Commission does not receive funding from your property taxes.

Does increased driving mean more gas tax revenue?
No, because cars are continuously becoming more fuel-efficient, we're able to drive further on less gas.  That means we're putting more wear and tear on Michigan roads, and paying LESS to maintain them.

What causes potholes?
Potholes occur as the result of melting ice and snow.  The melting water drains under the pavement through cracks caused by traffic.  As the temperatures begin freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands under the pavement, forcing the pavement to lift.  As traffic continues to drive over this section of road and the temperatures rise above freezing, a shallow divot occurs under the road and the pavement breaks.  A pothole is formed as a result.

My vehicle was damaged due to the condition of a road - is the Road Commission going to pay for it? 
Contact your insurance company to see if you have applicable coverage.  The law is such that the Muskegon County Road Commission cannot pay for personal damage out of public funds.

How can I get my road paved?
Most paved local roads in Muskegon County were improved using private development funds or contributions from township government.  The level of funding provided to the road commission by law is not sufficient to pay for the initial paving of a road.  Although township government has no responsibility for road maintenance or improvement, and does not receive any road tax money, they have been very supportive of county roads over the years; and you may wish to contact them to see if they have any plans to improve your road in the future. By law road commissions are allowed to spend only up to 50% of the cost of improvements for local roads. The other amount must come from other sources.

Can I fill in the ditch and plant trees in front of my property?
If there is a ditch along the road in front of your property you should not fill it in even if it doesn’t drain water along the road. The purpose of roadside ditches is to prevent water from pooling on the roadway during or after a storm, to provide an area for snow plowing operations, and to lower the water table beneath the roadbed. Filling in even a fairly shallow roadside ditch can cause serious damage to the road and pavement from frost heave, and from the lack of positive drainage.  Please do not plant trees or shrubs that may become a vision obstruction or that may grow into a large fixed object that presents danger to motorists anywhere inside the road right of way. Trees and ornamental plantings should be set back at least 33 feet from the center of the road which in most cases will place them outside of the road right of way and protect them from traffic damage.

Why do you spread all that tar & gravel on the paved roads?  There was nothing wrong with the road & now it is a mess.
The process you are referring to is seal coating (chip seal) which most road agencies in Michigan use as a relatively low cost method of preserving existing pavements.  The tar is actually an emulsion of water and liquid asphalt, which penetrates and seals small cracks in the existing pavement.  Sealing these cracks on a regular basis prevents water from seeping into and softening the base of the road and over time causing potholes to form.  The slag stone that we use for cover material sticks to the emulsion and, after rolling and sweeping, provides a slightly roughened, skid-resistant surface to improve safety.  Although seal coating can preserve and extend the life of the pavement, it is only a surface treatment and does not fill any existing bumps, holes, or irregularities and thus does not improve the ride quality.  For this reason, it is important to apply seal coat to a road BEFORE this deterioration occurs which leads us to seal coat roads that are in generally good condition rather than waiting for them to deteriorate to the point that extensive patching is necessary.

How can I get my gravel road graded?
Our maintenance crews are hard at work year-round to keep our gravel roads in good condition.  Each garage facility runs through a rotation of the gravel roads when grading.  We appreciate your patience in these matters.  If you think that the road is a safety hazard, you may complete a service request form available on this web site.  If you prefer, you may simply call us at 231-788-2381 (press 1) and give the information to the operator.

How can I get chloride applied to my gravel road?
The Road Commission of Muskegon County will help your township pay for one application of calcium chloride on each gravel road per year.  Normally, this application is applied in early June.  We try not to apply the calcium chloride too early in the spring as it is quickly washed away with the rain. Additional applications must be requested by the Township, which pays the entire cost of this maintenance.  If you believe your road is in need of another request for chloride after completion of the initial application, contact your Township office.

Why is my road always the last one plowed after a snowstorm?  
The road commission organizes snow-plowing operations to service the most heavily traveled roadways first during and after a winter storm.  The road commission starts with 370 miles of State Trunk line first. About 378 miles of county primary roads and certain high traffic local roads in the urban area are plowed next.  After those roads are passable, crews move on to clear local paved roads throughout the county.  Typically, local subdivision streets and rural gravel roads are cleared after all other higher traffic roads. Although our crews may begin plowing/salting several hours before the morning peak traffic, and continue operations into the night, extended winter storms or continuing winds may require crews to continually plow the main high traffic roads and prevent them from reaching subdivision streets or rural gravel roads the first day. The road commission operates with an emergency crew around the clock when necessary.

Why do the snow plows push the snow back into my driveway after I shovel?
Unfortunately, this is one of the hazards of our Michigan winters.  In order to get through the many, many miles of roadway to plow, our trucks cannot stop their routes to manually clear a resident’s driveway. The snowplow drivers do not have time to direct the plowed snow away from every driveway – it cannot be done within the time constraints that we are forced to work under.

What should be kept in mind when shoveling/plowing driveways?
Homeowners should be aware that shoveling or plowing snow from driveways onto or across roads is illegal (Act 82 of 1978, vehicle code 257.677A) because it can present a serious traffic hazard to motorists. Instead, pile the snow behind the curb or shoulder on your side of the road.  Be sure to place snow to the right as you face the road, so plows will push it away from, rather back into, the driveway entrance. It is also important to avoid vision obstructions. Care should be taken not to impede the flow of storm water from melting snow in the ditches or culverts. Citizens should also make certain that their trash containers are not placed too close to the edge of the road before snow removal has taken place.

A road commission snow plow knocked down my mailbox….
The road right-of-way property which is owned by the Road Commission serves several purposes. One is to accommodate the utilities; another is for your mailbox.  Another reason is to create a type of “buffer zone” between your property and the road.  Because we use heavy equipment in the maintenance of our roads, and especially when the road and right of way area is covered with snow, it is difficult to see the mailboxes.  Many times, it is the pushed snow that will knock down a mailbox rather than the snowplow actually hitting the mailbox.  In cases such as this, the Road Commission does not replace or repair the mailboxes.  The Road Commission's policy is to replace mailboxes that have actually been hit by the snowplow; however, if the mailbox or wooden post was broken off from the force of the snow coming off the plow blade, we do not replace or repair it. The Muskegon County Road Commission's policy when it is warranted to replace a mailbox is to issue a generic type of box and or post.

What are weight restrictions?
Weight restrictions are legal limits placed on the loads trucks may carry. During late winter and early spring, when seasonal thawing occurs, the maximum allowable axle load and speed is reduced to prevent weather-related breakup of roads.

Is the Muskegon County Road Commission responsible for state highways?
The Michigan Department of Transportation is responsible for routine maintenance on all state highways.  MDOT contracts with the Muskegon County Road Commission to maintain the state highways located in Muskegon County. The services we provide include snow plowing, pothole filling, grass cutting, sweeping, guardrail repair and other services.