Even with fall here, the orange barrels on our freeways and roads seem never-ending. If you think you’ve been getting stuck in traffic more often, you’re probably right.
That’s because there are more road projects this year than last year, and it all comes down to funding. The more money the Michigan Department of Transportation has, the more projects they do.
“Are there more construction projects this year than last year?” I asked Steve Minton, the associate regent engineer of development for MDOT.
“Yes, for sure. The governor’s rebuilding program, with the bond funding that was announced in 2020, we have a lot more funding that we are spending on roads and bridges right now,” Minton said.
Bob Willemsen, who lives near I-75, said he’s definitely noticed more construction. Both 11 Mile and 12 Mile are closed at I-75.
“I just have take 13 Mile instead of 12 Mile, which would have been easier,” Willemsen said.
Jovanna Dalessandro also noticed the increased construction.
“I mean there’s cones everywhere. You can’t go down any street without a cone,” she said.
According to Minton, MDOT has six times as much funding in place this year, and has $3.5 billion in bonds to be spent over the next five years.
In 2022 alone, MDOT would have had $200 million in funding. With the bonds, they have almost a billion dollars.
Also helping fund the work is a $1.2 billion road funding package that was signed during former Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration. It increased the gas tax.
“That funding was both for state trunk lines and local, so that is why you see more projects on local roadways in addition to MDOT roadways,” Minton said.
While the extra time might be annoying, the hope is that we will see a smoother drive for years to come.
Minton said don’t expect MDOT to slow down any time soon. There will be a lot of projects happening over the next two years with the goal of offering permanent solutions and not temporary fixes.
This article originally appeared in WXYZ. For more, click here.