GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the harsh transition from the early winter freeze to the mid-winter thaw, potholes are beginning to show up across West Michigan.

The good news: the problem isn’t as significant as it could be, and crews with the Kent County Road Commission and the city of Grand Rapids are working on patching them.

Potholes form when water seeps into the pavement and undergoes the freeze-thaw cycle. This expands and contracts the pavement until it eventually buckles.

Kent County Road Commission Deputy Managing Director of Operations Jerry Byrne said a lack of frost is preventing the situation from worsening.

“What we typically see this time of year is you have your pavement, your asphalt, your concrete, then you have your gravel and you have whatever’s underneath there, could be sand, could be natural soils. If that ground is frozen, then it traps the water and doesn’t let the water go down through and soak away from the road, and it’s trapped underneath the road. Now, there is no frost underneath the road, so that water can gradually drain away and seep away like summer,” he said.

For this reason, the pothole issues are better than expected. Wonderland Tire in Byron Center said it’s hardly seen any pothole-related car damage so far.

“We’ve seen a small uptick, but given the time of year, not really,” Byrne said about the number of potholes in Kent County. “I would say it’s average or even a little below average pothole season so far.”

There are still plenty of problem areas and multiple methods to report potholes on Kent County area roads, either on kentcountyroads.net or by calling 616.242.6950. If it’s a damaging pothole and you find it after hours, you’re encouraged to call 911.