Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Response to criticism of Oakland road clearing

I thought I should share the following response to my Monday blog about the poor condition of Oakland County roads following the storm.
My answer follows Craig Bryson's note to me:

Hi Roger.

Just read your blog. Yes, some roads were better in Macomb than Oakland, no question. But in other cases, it was just the opposite. In fact, I spoke with an official at the Macomb road commission who confirmed my suspicians. Every time it snows, when we hear comments about the roads being better in Macomb, their residents are asking them why the roads are always better in Oakland. Bottom line: There's nothing they are doing dramatically differently than we are. In the case of the roads you cite, they may have been able to plow them earlier in the day, thus getting the snow off the roads before the temps drop and it started to freeze and turn to ice. It wasn't for lack of effort on our part, though, as we have had every available truck out on the roads from 2:30 a.m. Sunday through right now.


Craig Bryson, APR
Public Information Officer
Road Commission for Oakland County
31001 Lahser Road
Beverly Hills MI 48025
(248) 645-2000, ext. 2302
Follow RCOC on Twitter at


Thanks Craig for taking the time to respond to my blog.

However, I am afraid that you did not change my opinion. I will be the first to admit that I have not driven all the roads in Oakland and Macomb counties.

But I have experienced the same difference in clearing on the roads I do drive for the last 15 years. It is very consistent. The roads in Oakland will be snow covered. The roads in Macomb will be cleared.

After your note, I asked around the office and talked to other people who drive both counties and they all agree that Macomb roads are kept clearer.

I also called my counterpart editor at the Macomb Daily and he said that his personal experience going to work was not bad on Monday and the newspaper did not get a lot of calls or social media comments about how bad the roads were in Macomb County. He said it was about normal for after a snowfall.

So I would love to talk to some Macomb County residents who believe that their roads are worse than Oakland County roads. I couldn't find any. I would particularly like to ask them which roads in Macomb County are not being cleared.

But all of that aside, I have to admit that what happened Sunday and into Monday and Tuesday is unusual.

And I did observe the condition of the roads in and around Pontiac on Monday, and they were the worst I have ever seen. One of my night people, commuting up on Woodward Monday evening took 3.5 hours to get to work.

I also would like to throw out my theory about why the roads were so bad Monday in Oakland County.

I was out on Sunday evening when the snow was heavy and the roads were slushy, and the weather reports were predicting a steady drop in temperatures. I told my wife that if the plows did not get that slush off the roads by midnight, it would be days until they were cleared. I suspect that the Macomb County roads were cleared Sunday night and those are the roads I drove on Monday, without much difficulty.

I also suspect that the Oakland County roads which still had a thick coating of ice on Monday were not cleared Sunday night, and the slush just hardened onto the pavement.

So I do not believe it is a matter of money because both counties face similar economic hardships with road revenue. I think it is "a stitch in time, saves nine."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home