Will Labor Dispute Indefinitely Delay Major Freeway Projects in Metro Detroit?

Jake Neher/WDET

Chad Livengood (left) with Stephen Henderson (right)

A labor dispute has halted more than 150 road construction projects in Michigan. That includes major freeway repairs in Metro Detroit such as I-75 and I-696.

With cool weather right around the corner, finishing some of these projects this year could become difficult as concrete can’t set in cold temperatures.

With the clock ticking on major projects, Governor Rick Snyder has started to get involved, hoping to speed up the process of settling the labor dispute and work stoppage.

What will this mean for commuters in Southeast Michigan and across the state? How long with this stand-off last?

Crain’s Detroit Business reporters explain:

The standoff between the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and Operating Engineers Local 324 has entered its second week with no signs of progress. More than 1,000 heavy equipment workers across the state have not reported to their worksites since the trade group instituted a “defensive lockout” last Tuesday.

Major road projects on I-696, I-75 and I-96 in Southeast Michigan have been affected by the dispute in a region that has cringed about its crumbling roads for years. The $90 million I-696 project, which was awarded to Interstate Highway Construction in Colorado, was scheduled to be completed in November. It is unclear how the labor stoppage will affect that timeline or others across the state.

To hear from Crain’s reporter Chad Livengood about the issues involved with the construction stoppage, click on the audio player above.

Image credit: Marissa Gawel/WDET

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