MDOT crews still out amid coronavirus outbreak

LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Michigan Department of Transportation crews are considered by the State of Michigan to be essential personnel, which is why drivers will be seeing them out on the roads continuing to work.

As of Wednesday, the I-496 construction project, with a $60 million cost, is set to begin on the original start date of April 1.

MDOT will continue to work on roads and bridges.

A difficulty crews will face is keeping six feet away from their co-workers.

"Some of our projects are going to move slower than would be normal because the contractors and our staff are being mindful of the separation we need to take for everyone's safety," Jason Early, MDOT engineer said.

"Everyone has their own kind of set up as far as wipes and hand sanitizer," he said.

While out in the field, crews noticed a decline in the number of cars out on the road since Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order was given.

"Establishing a lane closure would be safer now with less volume and we're not seeing backups in construction zones either. I think there's a safety improvement overall," Early said.

One project did get cut because of the pandemic.

The Adopt-A-Highway program has been suspended to reduce the risk of exposure.

According to MDOT, there are 2,800 groups participating in the program and over 1 million bags of trash have been collected since the program started in the 1990s.

MDOT said the program will resume in July for the summer portion of the program.

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