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"Perfect storm" of cost increases, disinvestment, won't affect this year's road projects, MDOT says

Inflation is increasing costs for Michigan road projects
Inflation is increasing costs for Michigan road projects

Inflation and years of poor investment in roads is causing "a perfect storm" that's driving up the cost of road projects in Michigan, according to state officials.

The state Department of Transportation said labor and materials costs are higher, so recent bids for some projects are up about 10%.

And bridge replacement costs have increased about 35% in the past few years. 

Jeff Cranson is Communications Director for the DOT. He said the state also has a history of shortchanging its road budget.

"We have to rebuild these roads, because you can only maintain them with patching for so long," he said, "and when you wait this long, when you wait decades, it's going to cost a lot to fix them."

Cranson said it's possible the increased costs will affect later years in the state's five-year road plan.

But projects already in the works for this year will go ahead.

Those include a rebuild of I-496 in Lansing and I-196 in West Michigan, as well as projects on I-275, parts of M-59 in Macomb County, extensive sections of I-69 across the state, and a "flex lane" addition to a section of I-96 near Novi.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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