WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Wayne County has a plan to make getting around metro Detroit a little easier for years to come, which means you’ll be seeing plenty of orange barrels this summer.
Construction season is already underway for the 2021 season with $100 million going towards the roads this year.
This will consisted of 25 road construction projects, eight bridge projects and 70 pavement improvement projects on both primary and local roads.
In 2020, the roads division paved 33 miles; this year they plan on paving 76 miles, more than double from last year.
Wayne County is responsible for 43 communities throughout the region. Work will be taking place in Allen Park, Plymouth, Romulus, Dearborn and Detroit, to name just a few cities.
Near this year, construction will be shifting to focus not just on roads listed in poor condition.
“What we need to do now is focus on all of the roads,” said Beverly Watts.
Beverly Watts is the Director of the Department of Public Services for Wayne County. She says this year they will be focusing on “fair” roads alongside roads deemed in “poor” condition.
According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, or SEMCOG, 49 percent of roads, or more than 3,700 miles, were listed in poor condition in 2018 and 2019. That is up from 2016 and 2017, when 2,500 miles and 35% of roads were in poor condition. In fact the number of poor roads has only gone up since 2013.
“We want to focus and target in on the fair and good roads that way they will not escalate and get down to poor condition,” said Watts.
This is all part of Wayne County’s 10-Year Asset Management Plan developed back in 2019. The goal, get 90 percent of roads listed in good condition.
Watts said the pandemic did slow the plan down. This is the first year Wayne County will focus on not just poor roads.
This plan is dependent on funding for years to come. Watts says they plan on applying for grants to help. She’s also hopefully President Joe Biden’s two trillion dollar American Jobs Plan could help. No word yet on just where and how that money would be allocated if approved.
“It would take us a little less three billion dollars, three billion dollars to have our roads in 90 percent good condition in a ten year span,” said Watts.
One of the biggest road construction projects is Conant. The biggest bridge project, rebuilding the Grosse Ile Bridge. Construction there is starting this month with a reopening goal of this fall.