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Road Damage as Result of High Water Levels Highlight Systematic Issues

With water current high water levels and no decline in sight, some of Michigan’s infrastructure is being pushed to its limits. Transportation officials say the state’s lack of investment in roads is catching up with it. The Michigan Department of Transportation has estimated roughly a hundred million dollars worth of repairs will be needed as a direct result of high water levels.

With around 40 projects already in process, state road workers have their work cut out for them. 

Jocelyn Hall from the Michigan department of transportation (MDOT) said the water levels are causing issues for roads all over the state, “that’s one of the points for people to understand is that it's not just shorelines that are impacted, and ya know really not even just inlet lakes but also any roadway right now, I mean essentially if you think about where water levels are really at our entire road system could be so saturated.” 

Hall said high water levels aren’t the only issue affecting Michigan roads, aging infrastructure is the bigger problem. She said MDOT has been unable to build as much long term infrastructure as they need due to budget constraints, which is why the water level is having such an impact. 

She said, “if we had had a sustainable budget for the last 20 years in place we might not see such a drastic impact on our infrastructure now because we would have been able to prepare for these kinds of events.”

Hall said having to deal with an already limited budget to fix damaged roads in addition to managing current projects and other regular repair costs is a daunting task, but she said Michigan roads are safe and that MDOT will always close off unsafe roads. She emphasized the need for long term solutions and better funding.