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MDOT preparing to launch a study on converting freeways into toll roads

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:23 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The path to finally fixing Michigan’s roads may be closer than we think.

Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation got the OK to explore the option of utilizing toll roads.

Senate Bill 517 signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week will require MDOT to study whether putting toll booths on Michigan freeways would be financially feasible.

“This really hasn’t been looked at since the ’50s, when Michigan had a turnpike,” said MDOT Communications Director Jeff Cranson. “This is an opportunity to look at it in a time when we know that Michigan has underfunded roads and infrastructure.”

The study will look at a few main highways that are highly traveled by both commercial and tourism traffic.

“The truck corridors. I-94 between Chicago and Canada. I-69, there’s a lot of speculation that when its finished further to the south in Southern states it will be a key corridor linking Mexico and Canada, and it goes through Michigan,” Cranson said.

He believes one of the largest concerns right now is the accuracy of the study, because more people are staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“That has to be factored in,” Cranson said. “How to study traffic patterns and commercial vehicle patterns during a pandemic.”

The study must be complete within two years for a decision to be made on the feasibility of creating toll roads. MDOT is currently in talks with multiple companies to determine who will conduct the study

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