We’ve been seeing early signs of spring all across Southwest Michigan the past couple of weeks. More new potholes. And a lot of roads that were built with expansion cracks or joints are showing signs of “heaving” where the road surfaces buckle at those joints and gives us a good jolt every time we go over one at more than about 35 miles per hour.  In Calhoun County, M-96, or Dickman Road through the Ft Custer area just to the west of Battle Creek is a good example. Following the last hard cold spell and then the immediate warming trend sent some of those joints up an inch or two. It’s been noticeable. Helmer Road alongside the Battle Creek airport is another example of a road giving way to freezing and thawing.

Today, the annual right of spring is kicking in. Vehicle weight restrictions are going into effect. Almost every primary road is affected. For most of us, we don’t have to bother. Our cars, trucks, or SUV’s aren’t big enough to be an issue. But for heavier transport vehicles, it is something owners and drivers need to pay attention to. Especially since they can be hit with hefty fines for carrying loads that are too heavy for the sprint conditions. The whole idea is that during the time when the roadbeds are moving around with the freezing and thawing, they are the most vulnerable to damage. That just means more potholes and pressure cracks.

The best way to know what is covered is to look for the seasonal weight restrictions signs that most county road commissions and the state have already put up in anticipation of today’s start of the annual weight restrictions. The seasonal rules are generally in place for a couple of weeks.

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