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Politics & Government

Audit: MDOT broke its own rule on road safety studies

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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) broke its own rule on road safety studies. That’s according to a new report from the Michigan auditor general’s office.

The self-imposed rule said MDOT must conduct at least one safety study on road projects in every region of the state.

But last fiscal year, the department failed to do a safety study in two of those seven regions. MDOT says that’s because it concentrated the studies on projects that had more importance.

“Instead of following our written rule that says every region must have one, we went opted to go with what was considered to be the most beneficial for the department with our limited resources,” said Brad Wieferich, director of MDOT’s Bureau of Highway Development - Design Division.

Wieferich says there were no safety concerns associated with the finding.

“I think we’re doing a very good job with the resources we have,” he said.

The state audit also found MDOT hasn’t updated its list of road signs and guardrails since 2007.

“Essentially, they’re just lists. They’re spreadsheets. They’re lists of what’s where – not the most valuable tool to us,” said Wieferich.

He says the department is working on a new system that will keep track of things like signs and guardrails. But it will also help MDOT keep track of damage and decide when to replace them.

The department agreed with both findings in the audit report.