Jump to content

Highway and Road Construction Updates


GRDadof3

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, GRLaker said:

I-196 between Grandville and Holland turned into a minefield of giant potholes over night. Cars were lining the highway due to damage and Ottawa County road workers were out in the pouring rain filling in the craters. We can't keep up this bandaging philosophy. Michigan's infrastructure needs an overhaul.

 

As a daily commuter on that stretch of highway that doesn't surprise me. That stretch has been treacherous for years. I took Chicago Drive to Holland today and twice the traffic was stopped for significant water over the roadway. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, GRLaker said:

I-196 between Grandville and Holland turned into a minefield of giant potholes over night. Cars were lining the highway due to damage and Ottawa County road workers were out in the pouring rain filling in the craters. We can't keep up this bandaging philosophy. Michigan's infrastructure needs an overhaul.

 

Michigan's road infrastructure was overbuilt (in both lane widths and lane miles) and now we don't have the user (population) increase nor the political willingness to pay for it. 

Edited by demhem
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, MJLO said:

I would assume you are speaking from an impression based/opinion based stand point and don't have actual data to support that claim.    I see no evidence this is the case.   The state is off just a sliver of it's peak population and will likely surpass it by 2020.  In fact when I travel to other  states it would seem that Michigan UNDER built.   The biggest problem I have with this statement is that the counties that make up the GR metro area have doubled in population since 1960,  while the freeway lane miles have gone up maybe 20% and do not support the growing population.   Not to mention the stretch of freeway they are referring to is subject to some of the harshest weather conditions in the state and is going to break down faster than the average roadway.  Not sure that's the best example to push the broken system argument on.

4

I'm responding to "Michigan's infrastructure needs an overhaul." I was not directing comments at the GR metro area, but the State as a whole. I did not intend to pick I96 as an example to push any argument. My impression, if that is what we are calling it, is based on my experience rating roads for MDOT and working in transportation alongside county road commissions and city engineers. Michigan's population growth has been anemic since the 1980s with an overall increase of 7% between 1980 and 2015 (or 0.2% per year). To put that into perspective, the US grew by 41% during the same time period. Metro Detroit is a great example of sprawling land development and added infrastructure without any significant increase in population (base), as noted in this report from SEMCOG (5% increase in population vs 17% increase in developed area in 10 years): https://www.semcog.org/desktopmodules/SEMCOG.Publications/GetFile.ashx?filename=LandUseChangeInSoutheastMichiganCausesAndConsequencesMarch2003.pdf

It is not logical to keep building (or widening) when you can't afford to maintain what you have. We need to increase the base, increase taxes, or reduce our overhead. We only really have control over two of those things. In my experience, there are countless roads built to maintain an "A" level of service (even in West Michigan, despite our growth) that are completely unnecessary given the cost of added maintenance per lane and the lack of use. 

Further, the following link contains data on total lane miles by state, determine whether your observations are accurate: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2008/hm60.cfm

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, GRLaker said:

I-196 between Grandville and Holland turned into a minefield of giant potholes over night. Cars were lining the highway due to damage and Ottawa County road workers were out in the pouring rain filling in the craters. We can't keep up this bandaging philosophy. Michigan's infrastructure needs an overhaul.

 

The road was built in 1972 using continuous reinforced concrete pavement as a new and improved process. It's been problematic for about 45 years. It needs the concrete pavement pulled out and replaced with conventional concrete or HMA. Yes MDOT has put band-aids on this for years. In their defense, Engler's Build MI 1,2.& 3 bonding programs and Granholm's Jobs Today bond program gambled in increased growth in population and the the Act 51 gas and weight tax funds. The lost decade did just the opposite so MDOT  ended up using  the existing levels of funding (or less) to pay back bonds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, demhem said:

I'm responding to "Michigan's infrastructure needs an overhaul." I was not directing comments at the GR metro area, but the State as a whole. I did not intend to pick I96 as an example to push any argument. My impression, if that is what we are calling it, is based on my experience rating roads for MDOT and working in transportation alongside county road commissions and city engineers. Michigan's population growth has been anemic since the 1980s with an overall increase of 7% between 1980 and 2015 (or 0.2% per year). To put that into perspective, the US grew by 41% during the same time period. Metro Detroit is a great example of sprawling land development and added infrastructure without any significant increase in population (base), as noted in this report from SEMCOG (5% increase in population vs 17% increase in developed area in 10 years): https://www.semcog.org/desktopmodules/SEMCOG.Publications/GetFile.ashx?filename=LandUseChangeInSoutheastMichiganCausesAndConsequencesMarch2003.pdf

It is not logical to keep building (or widening) when you can't afford to maintain what you have. We need to increase the base, increase taxes, or reduce our overhead. We only really have control over two of those things. In my experience, there are countless roads built to maintain an "A" level of service (even in West Michigan, despite our growth) that are completely unnecessary given the cost of added maintenance per lane and the lack of use. 

Further, the following link contains data on total lane miles by state, determine whether your observations are accurate: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2008/hm60.cfm

I would tend to agree with this, particularly as it relates to Detroit (and Lansing). Detroit does not need all of those highways that criss-cross parts of the city that are basically empty of population. Get rid of the Lodge and Davison for instance. Talk about redundancies. 

Also, Lansing has had massive amounts of new highway built in the last 30 - 40 years and it's population is stagnant. 127 going North to St Johns is almost vacant most of the time. 

And yet we STILL don't have a West Michigan connection for US-31 to the toll roads in Indiana, which would aid in commerce.

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, demhem said:

Michigan's road infrastructure was overbuilt (in both lane widths and lane miles) and now we don't have the user (population) increase nor the political willingness to pay for it. 

Not totally true, not at all in West Michigan as far as width, you can’t get narrower than 2 lane interstates. Miles are a little high but they’re a several unfinished sections with very few new freeways built in the past 25 Years. States like Indiana still manages to build more freeways. The population may not be growing rapidly but it’s still 10 million and stable. I think it has more to do with the materials used, the weather, and corrosive salt instead of magnesium chloride. It would be nice to get more interstate funding use better material, to finish 131 and turn it into an interstate and other incomplete freeways widen in some suburban areas, and stop using salt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

The road was built in 1972 using continuous reinforced concrete pavement as a new and improved process. It's been problematic for about 45 years. It needs the concrete pavement pulled out and replaced with conventional concrete or HMA. Yes MDOT has put band-aids on this for years. In their defense, Engler's Build MI 1,2.& 3 bonding programs and Granholm's Jobs Today bond program gambled in increased growth in population and the the Act 51 gas and weight tax funds. The lost decade did just the opposite so MDOT  ended up using  the existing levels of funding (or less) to pay back bonds.

Interesting...I have been told that they're going to have to work on I-196 the entire summer to fully fix this issue. If true, I would think that they plan on doing what you propose.

You're pretty knowledgeable on all road/infrastructure topics. Are you by chance a civil engineer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, GR8scott said:

Not totally true, not at all in West Michigan as far as width, you can’t get narrower than 2 lane interstates. Miles are a little high but they’re a several unfinished sections with very few new freeways built in the past 25 Years. States like Indiana still manages to build more freeways. The population may not be growing rapidly but it’s still 10 million and stable. I think it has more to do with the materials used, the weather, and corrosive salt instead of magnesium chloride. It would be nice to get more interstate funding use better material, to finish 131 and turn it into an interstate and other incomplete freeways widen in some suburban areas, and stop using salt.

Just my opinion, but...I-196 should be 3 lanes from downtown to the Zeeland/Holland exit. US-131 should remain 3 lanes up to the Rockford exit. And I-96 should be 3 lanes from the I-196 interchange down to M6. This just based on what I have witnessed with morning/evening commutes over the years and seeing an increase in the area population increase the traffic load on these routes.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any 2017 population estimates floating around for the GR metro yet?  

The congestion is certainly visible but the main reason is the economy is in high gear.    I'm thinking statewide gas tax revenues should see a nice boost in part because of the rate increase but pickup trucks and SUV's are popular again so average MPG might actually decline.  Then you've gas prices which probably bottomed last year, people are driving more, tourism is up, and there's not exactly a bunch of Tesla's and hybrids taking over the roads.

Hopefully the trucking industry is paying their fair share considering the disproportionate damage done by those beasts.  700 lbs. per inch of tire tread width in a state with major freeze/thaw cycles is a pounding plus the state's weight exemption rules are a cluster to figure out.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


7 hours ago, MJLO said:

They will be released toward the end of March,  most likely between the 19th  and 23rd.    My nerd butt is not so patiently waiting. :D

My estimation, extrapolating from this chart:

Net domestic migration: 3050

International immigration: 1745

Deaths: 7850

Birth: 14,275

Overall population growth: 11,220

New population #: 1,058,319

Back to road talk, I actually think they are grading for the embankment for the new bridge from I-96 Southbound to go over the I-196 interchange and connect with I-196 Eastbound. Not only have they cleared trees, they're excavating and pushing up dirt. Is this thing going to happen sooner than thought? Why has no media mentioned anything yet? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

My estimation, extrapolating from this chart:

Net domestic migration: 3050

International immigration: 1745

Deaths: 7850

Birth: 14,275

Overall population growth: 11,220

New population #: 1,058,319

 

It's hard to say.  I'm a bit apprehensive to speculate too much.  The 2017 estimates show that the states population growth doubled in 2017 vs 2016 rates.  I would assume this would also show an acceleration in GR Metro's numbers as well.   GR Metro has consistently come in right around +10K  residents/yr for the last 6 years.    GR Metro usually out paces the state as a whole in raw numbers growth every year.   I do suspect the unexpected surge in growth is likely more tied to continued economic stability in the Detroit area,  so growth rates in GR may not have been affected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, MJLO said:

It's hard to say.  I'm a bit apprehensive to speculate too much.  The 2017 estimates show that the states population growth doubled in 2017 vs 2016 rates.  I would assume this would also show an acceleration in GR Metro's numbers as well.   GR Metro has consistently come in right around +10K  residents/yr for the last 6 years.    GR Metro usually out paces the state as a whole in raw numbers growth every year.   I do suspect the unexpected surge in growth is likely more tied to continued economic stability in the Detroit area,  so growth rates in GR may not have been affected.

I don't think the numbers will be shocking. Maybe they'll rise to the growth rates of the mid-90's (when there was another huge apartment boom in the area, which is why there are so many 90's era apartment complexes around here). Or maybe much like last year. 

https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/data/population/#!/msa/Grand_Rapids-Wyoming%2C_MI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/21/2018 at 12:48 AM, GR8scott said:

Not totally true, not at all in West Michigan as far as width, you can’t get narrower than 2 lane interstates. Miles are a little high but they’re a several unfinished sections with very few new freeways built in the past 25 Years. States like Indiana still manages to build more freeways. The population may not be growing rapidly but it’s still 10 million and stable. I think it has more to do with the materials used, the weather, and corrosive salt instead of magnesium chloride. It would be nice to get more interstate funding use better material, to finish 131 and turn it into an interstate and other incomplete freeways widen in some suburban areas, and stop using salt.

Both magnesium and sodium chloride are equally as bad pending on the conditions.  https://www.codot.gov/programs/research/pdfs/2002/magautocor.pdf Mag costs twice as much, not as avail as sodium which comes by the boatload from Goderich ON to Muskegon.

 

On 2/21/2018 at 8:11 AM, GRLaker said:

You're pretty knowledgeable on all road/infrastructure topics. Are you by chance a civil engineer?

Yup, 1972 BSCE Michigan Tech. 46 years with the Road Commission

 

On 2/21/2018 at 11:04 AM, arcturus said:

Hopefully the trucking industry is paying their fair share considering the disproportionate damage done by those beasts.  700 lbs. per inch of tire tread width in a state with major freeze/thaw cycles is a pounding plus the state's weight exemption rules are a cluster to figure out.

Not quite, 700 lbs per inch on a set of 11R22.5 (common truck tire size) duals on an axle would be 11x4 x700 = 30,800 lbs. A tandem axle on the tractor is limited to 16,000 per axle. A 5 axle tractor trailer is limited to 16,000 each on the trailer tandem. If you have 3 axles between 9 feet and 3'6" apart, it's 13,000 per axle. if you can get your axles 9' apart or more, you can scale 18,000 per axle (that's more common configuration in Canada). The 13,000 lb axle maximum on the Michigan Specials - 8 axle trailers actually calculate out to equal or less loading that the 16,000 and 18,000 lb axles.  Check out the registration fees on a 154,000 plate. Add in the Federal excise tax, state and federal fuel tax, excise tax on tires, they are paying plenty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/21/2018 at 7:38 PM, GRDadof3 said:

Back to road talk, I actually think they are grading for the embankment for the new bridge from I-96 Southbound to go over the I-196 interchange and connect with I-196 Eastbound. Not only have they cleared trees, they're excavating and pushing up dirt. Is this thing going to happen sooner than thought? Why has no media mentioned anything yet? 

No pushing dirt, that was a big pile of chips from chipping the trees. It was gone tonight. There are 2 piles of stumps pushed up. The first construction contract will be let later this year if all goes well. MDOT had the Road Commission do the tree removal this time of year to avoid the bat habitat removal restrictions during prime construction season. The contractor can start the dirt work immediately because the trees are gone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

Not quite, 700 lbs per inch on a set of 11R22.5 (common truck tire size) duals on an axle would be 11x4 x700 = 30,800 lbs. A tandem axle on the tractor is limited to 16,000 per axle. A 5 axle tractor trailer is limited to 16,000 each on the trailer tandem. If you have 3 axles between 9 feet and 3'6" apart, it's 13,000 per axle. if you can get your axles 9' apart or more, you can scale 18,000 per axle (that's more common configuration in Canada). The 13,000 lb axle maximum on the Michigan Specials - 8 axle trailers actually calculate out to equal or less loading that the 16,000 and 18,000 lb axles.  Check out the registration fees on a 154,000 plate. Add in the Federal excise tax, state and federal fuel tax, excise tax on tires, they are paying plenty.

I'm quoting from this source - https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/policy/rpt_congress/truck_sw_laws/app_a.htm#mi

Please explain why mentioned in the 'other' section.

What are the registration fees?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, arcturus said:

I'm quoting from this source - https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/policy/rpt_congress/truck_sw_laws/app_a.htm#mi

Please explain why mentioned in the 'other' section.

What are the registration fees?

Here's the link to the commercial truck plate fees for MI. 160,000 lbs $3471 for a year  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gvw_19180_7.pdf 

This  explains the Federal Excise tax on trucks and tires  http://www.ngvamerica.org/pdfs/FETRepeal-Replace07-31-13.pdf

The 700 lbs per inch is used on rubber tired heavy equipment like loaders and motor scrapers. If they weigh more 700 lbs per inch on the 4 tires, they must be loaded on a truck and trailer with a lot of axles.

In my day job, I'm responsible  for reviewing and approving (or denying) the over weight and oversize permit issued by my employer. It's an interesting part of my job.:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I was just looking at the MDOT traffic counts page (because that's what I do on a crazy Monday evening), and 131 just North of downtown (between I-196 and Leonard) is the busiest stretch of highway in the region with now 146,000 cars a day (2016 numbers, I wonder what 2017 will show?). This is the same amount of traffic as I-696 through Oakland County/Farmington Hills, or I-94 through Southern Wayne County, or I-75 through Oakland County, or "pick a Detroit major freeway". All except 275 which sees almost 200,000 cars a day. 

http://mdot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=18a4b2f2ba3b4e079e935f8835862c73

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would also appear that Alpine Avenue between 3 and 4 mile is still the busiest thoroughfare in the metro area.   That is if you don't count US-31 in Grand Haven near Jackson St which handles more vehicles than any other monitored point in Ottawa County including freeways.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps the time will soon come within the next few decades that we will need a full circular business loop around the city, to help alleviate traffic on the beltline and 131 north of i-196?  Extending m-6 up and around the city?  Providing better access between i-196 traffic and GVSU, onwards up to Alpine, out towards Rockford, and around down to Ada before reconnecting at the eastern end.

Edited by tSlater
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.