(FOX 2) - When you think about the hazards of potholes riddling our state, have you ever thought about the other hazards that are popping tires?
While Michigan is a state that makes things, the byproduct of all that work is often littering the streets.
“It’s all that scrap that’s heading back to the recycling facilities to be re-melted,” said Matt Carr of Storch Magnetics. “We see littered all over the shoulders of our highways.”
Typically, construction crews are the first lines of defense to patch the pesky potholes, but often county work vehicles are stopped in their tracks because their tires get punched by metal scraps or nails.
This is the reason why Jackson and Washtenaw counties have invested in the Supermag.
The Supermag, an industrial sized vacuum cleaner, sweeps up metal debris.
“So what we did is we decided we need to get a magnet out in front of the vehicle to protect the vehicle that’s doing the work,” Carr said.
The powerful magnetic machine comes ahead of the caravan of construction crews, coming to patch the potholes. In Jackson County, they’re saving money because of it.
"They were finding that 90 percent of the time, they were heading out for pothole campaigns they were dealing with flat tires,” Carr said. “So if they’re dealing with flat tires on their own fleet, each minute is linear miles that’s not getting filled with maintenance.”
It’s not just the counties using the Supermag, individual contractors can buy them too.
They run about $7,500 dollars for the smaller size. The counties pay $15,000 for the larger ones.
Triple A says someone in America gets a flat tire every seven seconds. At the county level when you’re on the taxpayer’s dime patching up, that means money.
“Jackson County said in the first year, Supermag paid for itself just in the cost of repaired tires on the one truck alone that was using it,” Carr said.