Washington — Seventeen percent of Michigan’s rural roads are in poor condition and 13 percent of the state’s rural bridges are structurally deficient, according to a new study released this week.
The study, by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit transportation research organization TRIP, found that Michigan’s rural road conditions ranked 18th worst in the United States. It found that 26 percent of Michigan’s rural roads are rated in mediocre condition and Michigan’s rate of 2.19 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the 24th highest in the nation.
The state ranks 15th worst in the nation for structurally deficient bridges, according to the study released Tuesday.
“Having safe and reliable roads is a continuous challenge for the agriculture industry and Michigan’s rural communities. Farmers, who primarily live in these rural areas, depend on local roads to get their products to and from farm and market,” said Carl Bednarski, president of the Michigan Farm Bureau, in a statement.
“Posted bridges with reduced weight limits requires vehicles transporting commodities to take burdensome detours, while crumbling roads add to maintenance cost and risk damaging valuable produce. These factors increase costs for farmers, consumers and other in our nation’s food system. Adequate investment in transportation infrastructure is vital to the continued prosperity of the agriculture industry in Michigan.”
Jeff Cranson, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the report “reflects what Gov. (Rick) Snyder and state and local transportation leaders have been saying” about the lack of adequate funding from Washington and previous administrations in Lansing for roads and bridges in Michigan.