Even with rising costs, hundreds of road projects take shape

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With prices of goods and services up across the board, it is no surprise that inflation is also affecting road and bridge building projects.

Road agencies across the country are facing higher prices for materials. Labor costs have also risen with a demand for skilled workers, challenging employers across all sectors and affecting the cost of home building like other construction.

This week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast is the 100th episode. The guest is Brad Wieferich, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Bureau of Development, who talks about how the hundreds of projects in the works or planned across the state will continue this year despite the pressures of inflation.

Wieferich also explains that there’s no evidence that the Rebuilding Michigan bonding plan is the reason for the inflation, which is not unique to Michigan as outlined in data published by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

The higher prices are the result of a “perfect storm” as the pandemic, war in Ukraine and decades of disinvestment (meaning the longer we delay maintaining and building infrastructure, the more it costs) have taken a toll.

While emphasizing that this year’s MDOT projects remain on track, Wieferich explained that if prices continue to rise, planners may have to make adjustments to future projects in the five-year program.

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