Opinion: The infamous potholes of Jackson

Posted on Sep 17 2018 - 5:50am by Cami Macklin

Jackson is a place that many people call home and many others visit to go sightseeing. There is one thing, however, that isn’t so beautiful — the road conditions of Jackson. WAPT reported that many Jackson residents have become concerned with the potholes throughout the city after a high school senior died after coming in contact with such a pothole, just days shy of her graduation ceremony. Sadly, Mississippi has the third-highest traffic fatality rate in the nation, so stories such as the one above are not uncommon.  

However, the problem lies not with the quantity of potholes but with the quality of the road repair itself.

Melinda McGrath, the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), has expressed disagreement with the current procedures of road repair, stating, “We go out there and we do pothole patching. But the rain still gets in around those pothole edges, and they pop back out and the hole becomes larger … so it’s kind of (a) never-ending battle when the road gets really bad.”

So, why not fix it? Because by the time the roads reach a hazardous state, the cost to fix them will have increased significantly, and MDOT does not have the money for it. In fact, maintenance and construction make up 88 percent of the department’s total budget.

In terms of budgets, Mississippi recently received funding toward its budget from an unlikely organization. Domino’s began a campaign advocating for more straight and narrow streets on which delivery drivers can more easily protect their customers’ pizzas. The company has been to several cities around the country and, now, has Jackson in its view. The generous corporation is donating $5,000 to all of the cities it helps in order to repair potholes, cracks and bumps in the road. According to Bob Miller, Jackson’s public works director, that money would be sufficient to repair about 40 potholes. So, while this monetary assistance is better than absolutely nothing, it still isn’t enough to put Jackson on the map and in the news for celebratory reasons. However, it is not the responsibility of Domino’s to do so — it is the city’s decision to appropriately disperse the money, according to importance.

The conditions of Jackson’s roads have become such an inconvenience that a major food corporation had to come in and offer some assistance to the city. Hopefully, this gesture will open the eyes of some of the Jackson councilmen and encourage them to take better precautions with their roads, for their citizens’ sake.

Cami Macklin is a junior pre-pharmacy major from Terry.