Michigan Road Commission wants more maintenance with less money

Michigan Road Commission wants more maintenance with less money

The cost of keeping the road in Indian River, Michigan, in working order is continuing to rise, however, there has been no increase in state transportation revenues, which is causing headaches for the Cheboygan County Road Commission, the Hillsdale News reports.

According to the media outlet, county officials are saying they are doing the best they can to perform the proper maintenance with lower funds, but that preserving the county roads and bridges is a daunting task. Cheboygan County Road Commission Managing Director Mike Roper said revenues directed toward road and bridge repairs are at a 10-year low, which could lead the county to put off maintenance projects.

Roper said that the commission has made keeping up with the pavement on roads a priority, as this is the most proactive way to offset deterioration. However, he said, it will be crucial to perform preventative maintenance on the roads while the pavement is still in working order, rather than reactively performing the upkeep projects. Currently, the commission is setting aside revenue for the long term to ensure the county has enough funds to pay for ongoing maintenance.

According to Roper's math, every dollar that is put away today could prevent as much as $14 in pavement damage down the road, making the cost effectiveness of preventive maintenance obvious.

"Over the long term, preventative maintenance will help us to get the best bang for the limited amount of money we have to maintain our roads," Roper explained. "It is kind of like changing the oil in your car – pay me now or pay me much more later."

The media outlet stated that the Road Commission has been using a broader asset management strategy to determine exactly which process will be the best maintenance choice for any particular road. The strategy is expected to help the county lower costs but still perform necessary maintenance on all roads and bridges.

"The Road Commission has been collecting data on federal aid (and local if applicable) road conditions for many years," Roper added. "We know the condition of our roads and the specific repairs needed, but like most local road agencies we are struggling to fund these repairs. To bring all roads in our county to good and fair condition would cost approximately $38,671,250 and our total annual state funding is only $3,589,325 and much of that is directed toward snow removal and summer maintenance needs."

All maintenance that occurs along highways and bridges must adhere to the standards that have been set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which has developed regulations for work zone protections, flagging operations, lighting, training and driving.

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