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Milder winter weather means less salt for Berrien County road crews, but more potholes

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -

The unseasonably milder winter in Southwest Michigan is having a big impact on Berrien County Road crews. And it could be saving you money.

Better weather means less salt being used. And that means less money spent. 

That trickles down to you, the taxpayer. 

It also means resources can be better utilized toward other duties like road management. The savings allow funds allocated for winter work to go toward the summer construction season.

"Really the organization is almost on standby," said Louis Csokasy, managing director of the Berrien County Road Commission. "We deal with the weather as it comes. We get a lot of winter events that are 30 degrees, 28 degrees."

This doesn't mean they are just sitting around. The commission says the weird winter weather trend may eliminate plow work, but it increases potholes.

On average, officials estimate the commission has 25 events in the winter where they go out and do work. So far this time, they've had 17. And most of that has been to patch up potholes. They say it's not uncommon to have crews out of all four garages filling them. It's something they don't have to do as much when the weather stays cold.

"I suspect we are filling more potholes this winter than we traditionally do or ever have," said Csokasy. 

The commission says they are working as fast as they can to fill those potholes, so have patience with them. And they urge you to always drive slow, not underestimating road conditions just because of warmer temps. 

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