Michigan roads to get worse before better, data shows

DETROIT - Michigan roads are going to get worse before they get better, according to a forecast of road conditions by the Transportation Asset Management Council.

Data from 2014-15 showed 16 percent of federally funded roads in Michigan were considered to be in good condition, 45 percent were fair and 39 percent were poor.

Roads that are not federally aided are worse than those that are, according to TAMC data. In 2015, 56 percent of non-federally funded roads were rated as poor, 33 percent were fair and 11 percent were good.

Roads are categorized by the pavement surface evaluating and rating scale.

Roads in good condition may require routine maintenance such as crack sealing and minor patching.

Fair roads need preventive maintenance, such as crack sealing and patching, surface treatment, non-structural overlay and concrete joint repair.

Roads in poor condition need to be rehabbed or reconstructed. That can include resurfacing, structural overlays, replacement of concrete slabs or complete reconstruction of the road.

According to the PASER Asphalt Roads Manual, roads rated as 1, the worst rating, are considered failed roads in need of complete reconstruction.

There was a decline in the number of roads in good and fair condition between 2014 and 2015, while the number of roads considered to be in poor condition increased, data showed.

The increase in poor road conditions has been steady, according to data dating back to 2007, and that trend is expected to continue over the next two years.

Based on Michigan Geographic Framework program data, the percentage of roads considered good should begin increasing this year. The number of poor roads is also expected to increase as well, though.

The TAMC predicted that the percentage of poor roads will jump to 47 percent in 2017, increase slightly in 2019 and begin dropping gradually after that.

 

Road funding will increase in Michigan and nationally.

Before former President Barack Obama's signing of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act in December 2015, TAMC was predicting a steady decline in the conditions of Michigan’s roads.

The FAST Act increases federal funding for the nation’s roads through 2020.

Additionally, money from a $1.2 billion legislative transportation revenue package, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in November 2015, should assist in improving the quality of the state’s roads.

The money will be divided between the State Transportation Fund, county road commissions and cities and villages.

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