DETROIT -

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) on Thursday announced that $4 million will be leveraged from its summer maintenance fund to address freeway lighting outages in Metro Detroit.

"Due to the severity of this winter, some summer maintenance activities will be deferred, or not done at all, to focus on this priority," MDOT said in a statement.

The funds will be used to accelerate the repair of the lights, including hiring limited-term electricians, leasing equipment, purchasing materials and implementing contracting services.

The goal, MDOT said, is to have up to 80 percent of all the lights operating by the end of this summer.

Currently, only 69 percent of the freeway lights in Metro Detroit are functional, primarily due to lack of adequate funding, according to MDOT.

It wasn't specified as to where the exact locations of the repairs would be focused on.

Lack of revenue, increased number of repairs and maintenance requirements of an aging infrastructure are to blame for the problems.

"The system we are managing has lighting infrastructure that is about 40 years old, in addition to dealing with copper theft and other age-related issues," said MDOT Metro Region Engineer Tony Kratofil. "The combination of dwindling revenues and an aging infrastructure has caught up to us."

The Metro Region expects to have the limited-term staff and equipment secured by the beginning of spring. Repairs and upgrades will take place throughout the summer.

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