The Michigan governor announced a list of 21 state highway road construction projects Tuesday that are planned for the 2021 season through the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said these road projects (listed below) are a blend of those previously funded through the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) budget as well as several supported by the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.
The Rebuilding Michigan program was made possible when the State Transportation Commission (STC) in January 2020 authorized MDOT to issue $3.5 billion in bonds over four years to finance infrastructure improvements, under authority granted by the Michigan Constitution and Public Act 51 of 1951. Funding raised through bond sales will finance 49 new projects throughout the state, and it frees up funding already dedicated to those project for roughly 120 other projects, expanding the scope of that work or advancing project schedules, according to Whitmer’s office.
The program’s objective is to “rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic.”
Here are some of the projects starting or resuming in March 2021:
- Continuation of a $121.5 million investment to rebuild I-94 Business Loop (BL) (Main Street), connect US-31 to I-94, and rebuild I-94 between Britain Avenue and I-196 in Benton Township, Berrien County. This is the second season of work on this three-year project funded through the Rebuilding Michigan program.
- Rebuilding 3.4 miles of M-3 (Gratiot Avenue) between 11 Mile and 14 Miles roads in the city of Roseville, investing $60 million over two years. This project not only replaces the roadway, but also updates the water main and storm sewer, traffic signals, and sidewalks and ramps to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Read more: 2-year construction project on Gratiot Avenue begins
- $24 million to make extensive improvements to six bridges at the US-31/M-104 interchange in Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg in Ottawa County. Work includes deck replacement, painting, structural steel repairs, and beam repairs.
- Rebuilding 12 miles of southbound I-196 from Holland to Saugatuck/Douglas in Allegan County. This $34 million investment supported by the Rebuilding Michigan program and federal funds includes not only road rebuilding, but also culvert replacements and bridge improvements, as well as replacement of the Saugatuck Rest Area.
- Significant improvements to 16 bridges along the I-75/US-23 corridor in Genesee County, including steel beam repairs, deck replacements and protective epoxy coating. This $12.3 million investment extends the service life of these structures.
- Rebuilding 6 miles of M-37 south of US-31 to M-113 south of Traverse City. This nearly $9 million project includes widening the highway for a center left-turn lane, and construction of new roundabouts at the intersections with Vance and Blair Townhall roads.
- Resumption of a $12.5 million project to replace two bridges on M-26 over the east and west branches of the Firesteel River in Ontonagon County. The new bridges will be both wider and safer than the two they are replacing.
Dozens of other road and bridge rebuilding projects are planned for the 2021 construction season through the traditional federal and state funding sources, as well as the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.
“MDOT’s 2021 program includes rebuilding and resurfacing roughly 920 lane miles of state highways and freeways, and performing preventative maintenance on another 830 lane miles throughout Michigan,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Our department is working quickly to turn the additional funding we’ve been entrusted with into better, safer roads and bridges that support our economy and thousands of jobs.”
Potholes have become a Michigan tradition --- not one we enjoy keeping alive.
Potholes have been particularly bad in recent years. It’s been so rough, we stopped asking for the worst potholes and started asking for the best roads in Metro Detroit.
So what’s the deal with potholes? Why are they so bad in Michigan? The simple answer is: it’s our crazy Pure Michigan weather.
Potholes are created when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan’s seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, creating a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens leading to a pothole.
So, in a month where we can have ten inches of snow and three inches of rain in a three-week span, potholes are thriving on Michigan roads.