Gov. Whitmer visits Charlotte for I-69 project visit and inspection

The Rebuilding Michigan plan would allow MDOT to administer $300 million to fix 120 local bridges in serious or critical condition.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Charlotte on Monday to visit and inspect the I-69 5 Point Highway...
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Charlotte on Monday to visit and inspect the I-69 5 Point Highway bridge near Charlotte. Her Rebuilding Michigan plan would allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to administer $300 million to fix 120 local bridges in serious or critical condition.(WILX/Spencer Soicher)
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 12:52 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 8:28 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer visited the construction site on I-69 near the 5 Point Highway bridge in Charlotte and discussed her Rebuilding Michigan plan Monday. The plan would allow the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to administer $300 million to fix 120 local bridges in serious or critical condition. Those fixes will include a stretch of I-69 that has become notorious for buckling.

The $3.5 billion Rebuilding Michigan plan will tackle 49 projects and allow another 73 projects to be expedited or broadened in scope.

MDOT says they are going to rip off the 1-69 bandaid in Eaton County. The money for the project will come from Gov. Whitmer’s bond program. MDOT is going down to the surface, to tear up the road and fix it. They’ll be replacing 23 miles of road at a price of $200 million.

“This is going all the way down to the bone here,” says MDOT engineer Greg Losch. “It’s been deteriorating faster than we can take care of it.”

For years the road on I-69 in Eaton County has buckled. As soon as the weather gets hot, the road falls apart.

Paul Ajegba, the MDOT director, says the money will ensure that the project gets done fully and correctly.

“Some segment of this project wasn’t going to be a rebuild,” Ajegba says of the previous plan. “It was going to be just bandaid.”

Losch says that the mix of materials contributed to the buckling. He says that won’t be the case anymore.

“This is going to be different for a couple of reasons. One, the existing material was multiple layers of concrete. They react differently when they’re hot or cold. They just expand and contract at different rates,” Losch says.

“This is going to be different because we are going back down, removing all that existing material out and we’re replacing it with one consistent material. "

MDOT thinks this should last for about 30 years. They think they have enough funding under the new plan to fix the road up quicker.

MDOT hopes to have this project completed in the next two to three years. The segment from Ainger Rd. to Island Highway is set to be done within a year.

“Rebuilding Michigan’s infrastructure makes our roads safer and economy stronger for everyone, which is why it has been a priority for my administration since day one,” said Governor Whitmer. “The Rebuilding Michigan plan allows us to continue fixing the roads this construction season, without an increase at the gas pump. We need to keep our foot on the gas when it comes to investing in our state’s infrastructure and creating good-paying jobs.”

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