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Gov. Whitmer Announces 21 Rebuilding Michigan Road Projects

Rebuilding Michigan effort aims to keep drivers safe, jumpstart Michigan’s economy, create good-paying construction jobs.

The Governor’s office announced today the first 21 state highway projects starting throughout the state as part of the 2021 Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) construction season. These projects are a blend of those previously funded through the department’s budget, as well as several supported by the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.

The Detroit Regional Chamber continues to advocate for forward-looking infrastructure as a key component of the Chamber’s Michigan 2030 Plan and 2021 Legislative Priorities. Increasing dedicated infrastructure funding from all levels of government while relieving pressure on the general fund will be crucial to the state’s recovery and rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program is focused on rebuilding the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state’s infrastructure.

Projects starting or resuming in March include:

  • Continuation of a $121.5 million investment to rebuild I-94 Business Loop (BL)(Main Street), connect US-31 to I-94, and rebuild I-94 between Britain Avenue and I-196 in Benton Township, Berrien County. This is the second season of work on this three-year project funded through the Rebuilding Michigan program.
  • Rebuilding 4 miles of M-3 (Gratiot Avenue) between 11 Mile and 14 Miles roads in the city of Roseville, investing $60 million over two years. This project not only replaces the roadway, but also updates the water main and storm sewer, traffic signals, and sidewalks and ramps to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
  • $24 million to make extensive improvements to six bridges at the US-31/M-104 interchange in Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg in Ottawa County. Work includes deck replacement, painting, structural steel repairs, and beam repairs.
  • Rebuilding 12 miles of southbound I-196 from Holland to Saugatuck/Douglas in Allegan County. This $34 million investment supported by the Rebuilding Michigan program and federal funds includes not only road rebuilding, but also culvert replacements and bridge improvements, as well as replacement of the Saugatuck Rest Area.
  • Significant improvements to 16 bridges along the I-75/US-23 corridor in Genesee County, including steel beam repairs, deck replacements, and protective epoxy coating. This $12.3 million investment extends the service life of these structures.
  • Rebuilding six miles of M-37south of US-31 to M-113 south of Traverse City. This nearly $9 million project includes widening the highway for a center left-turn lane and construction of new roundabouts at the intersections with Vance and Blair Townhall roads.
  • Resumption of a $12.5 million project to replace two bridges on M-26 over the east and west branches of the Firesteel River in Ontonagon County. The new bridges will be both wider and safer than the two they are replacing.

Dozens of other road and bridge rebuilding projects are planned for the 2021 construction season through the traditional federal and state funding sources, as well as the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.

As Gov. Whitmer requested, the State Transportation Commission (STC) in January 2020 authorized MDOT to issue $3.5 billion in bonds over four years to finance infrastructure improvements, under authority granted by the Michigan Constitution and Public Act 51 of 1951. Funding raised through bond sales will finance 49 new projects throughout the state and frees up funding already dedicated to those projects for roughly 120 other projects, expanding the scope of that work or advancing project schedules.

MDOT sold a first $800 million package of bonds in September 2020. The very favorable market reaction resulted in a premium as the sale generated nearly $1.1 billion in proceeds. Strong bond ratings from S&P and Moody’s rating agencies reflected the dedicated revenue stream of fuel taxes and vehicle registrations to repay investors, as well as the STC’s policy to limit MDOT’s debt service to 25% of revenues.