It's a conversation that's long been discussed in the U.P.: repairing Michiganâ??s crumbling roads and bridges.
Tuesday, Governor Rick Snyder delivered his third State of the State Address. He proposed raising an additional $1.2 billion a year to focus on fixing transportation.
â??Let's do something to put more resources into our roads and redo our road distribution formula,â?? says Governor Snyder. â??We have to focus on both ends of the equation and on both the sources coming in and how we use those dollars.''
Those dollars proposed by the governor will be welcomed across the state and right here in Delta County.
The Managing Director of the Delta County Road Commission says he receives a $3.6 million a year budget for roadwork. The area is made up of 883 miles of roads to plow, patch, and rebuild.
â??Every bit of additional funding is well-needed,â?? says Managing Director, Rob VanEffen. â??We are so far behind the eight ball as far as our roads go. Theyâ??re deteriorating faster than we can fix them at this point. And the longer we wait, the more it's going to cost."
What's the primary cause of road deterioration? According to officials, it's the freeze/thaw cycle. Water gets into the cracks, freezes, and widens the cracks. Another big cause of the wear and tear is simply the age of the asphalt.
MDOT officials say the patch-ups do cost less, but they don't last. They project that within the next 10 years, the overall road condition will fall below 40 percent.
The governor's plan to put money into road repairs will have lasting, widespread benefits.
â??The level of investment that the governor is proposing could support more than 12,000 jobs,â?? explains MDOT Communications Representative, James Lake. â??And it could reduce costs to individual motorists and repair bills. It would also improve safety."
For now, officials have their eyes set on upcoming road repairs for the future. They include resurfacing US-2 between Escanaba and Bark River, County Road 416 between Flat Rock and Cornell, and on M-35 within the city limits of Menominee.