Construction fatigue setting in for mid-Michigan drivers on U.S- 23 as more ramps close

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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FENTON, Mich. (WJRT) - “We’ve hit the point of the year where everybody has construction fatigue. They’re sick of orange barrels and instead of ending projects, they are actually adding projects which is the situation in Fenton,” said Michigan Department of Transportation’s Jocelyn Hall.

Construction fatigue is setting in for many people who drive U-S 23 in the Fenton area.

Not only has there been lane closures all summer, but this week additional ramp closures were added to the list.

The Michigan Department of Transportation tells ABC12 News that the closures won’t last long, but could help the agency’s budget grow in the future.

Closure after closure, Fenton has been a hotspot for construction projects this season.

“Its already congested when its at full capacity, and at times, we’ve taken in shoulder and lane closures to help accommodate some of that bridge work-- that really makes congestion build up quickly,” said Hall.

Thankfully, the Owen road ramps have reopened and the currently closed ramp from Silver Lake to SB 23 will reopen Friday.

While its frustrating to see more closures, Hall said that the money is actually left over from the winter maintenance budget-- meaning it had to be used or it would be lost.

“When we build our maintenance budget, we always use winter maintenance as our first priority. Throughout the winter we are assessing how much funding left is available for spring, summer and fall maintenance projects. Because we had a lighter winter, we did have some extra funds left over,” she said.

Hall said that the projects were scheduled to help protect future budgets.

“If we turn it back over at the end of the year, there’s no Michigan Department of Transportation piggy bank. We can set that aside and come back to use it this Spring. If we don’t use it before the end of September, we lose that money in our budget and potentially we will not have that same amount left over at the end of the 2022 season,” said Hall.

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s fiscal year ends Oct. 1 and Hall said that the entire 2021 budget will have been spent.

Hall said that the resurfacing projects will also help those ramps last longer, meaning they will spend less money on them in the long run.

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