Are Longer Lasting Roads In Michigan’s Future?
There is an old saying in Michigan about our seasons. We joke that we only have two here in the Mitten State - winter and construction. It's not uncommon to see the reflection of orange construction barrels on the same stretch of road year after year.
The Michigan Department of Transportation might be taking steps to increase the life expectancy on roads in Michigan. Currently, roads in Michigan are built to survive the elements for approximately 20 years but there are techniques available that can increase their life expectancy up to 50 years.
The increase in a roads life expectancy increases the cost of construction because a deeper foundation needs to be laid. As an example, a 20-year road will have about 24 inches of buffering material underneath it and a 30-year road will have 36 inches.
MDOT is skeptical of paying the additional money for the higher quality roads because the roads built in the past with these standards did not last as long as expected.
MDOT has built a few new roads with the high standards in place so they can monitor the wear and tear. They have not announced any large scale projects as of yet.
Would you be willing to pay a little more in taxes if we can have less construction in the non-winter months?