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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.
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Anytime a person or business does any construction work in the road right-of-way (normally 66 feet wide to 33 feet each direction from the center of the road) they need to obtain a permit. This applies to driveway installation or any other construction type activity. Permits are not needed to install a mailbox (please see our mailbox policy for more info).
To obtain a copy of our permit please visit the permit page. You may also call our office to request a copy to be sent or faxed to you or you may stop in at our Napier Avenue office. Go to our Contact Information page for more info.
How does the Berrien County Road Department (BCRD) decide which roads get plowed first? When do subdivision streets get plowed?
Thank you for your patience!
You can call the Michigan State Police Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477 or visit the Michigan Government Road Conditions Site or MiDrive for current road conditions in Michigan. Please do not call your local police agency for road conditions during a storm because they need to keep their phone lines open for emergencies.
"US" highways (i.e. US-31) extend to two or more states, "M" highways (i.e. M-63, M-51) begin and end within Michigan, and "I" highways (i.e. I-94) are part of the Interstate Highway System.
The Michigan Department of Transportation is responsible for maintenance on all state highways in Berrien County. These highways are: I-94, I-196, U.S.-12, U.S.-31, M-140, M-139, M-51, M-239, M60, M-62, M-63 (Niles Avenue) and Business Route 94 from exit 23 (Red Arrow Highway) to St. Joseph, then along Main Street in Benton Harbor continuing out to exit 34 on I-94. For more information contact the Coloma Transportation Service Center at 269-849-1165.
Weight restrictions are legal limits placed on the loads that trucks (commercial vehicles) 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. Contact our Weighmaster for more information or view the Commercial Vehicles web page.
The townships pay for the application of chloride on gravel roads in their township, and each township contracts with the Road Department to take care of this. The townships in Berrien County contract for one or two applications spread out over the summer.
In the summer, roads are always graded prior to having chloride applied. If your road needs graded, please submit a service request. In addition, we try to blade gravel roads after it rains and the road has softened up. In the winter, we must wait until the frost is out of the roads before we can grade them.
The Road Department's main source of funding is comprised of gas and weight taxes and driver's license fees and is distributed by the state through a formula, also known as ACT 51. The Road Department does not receive property taxes. Access the Road Department Funding (PDF) For more information (source: Oakland County Road Department).