Whitmer administration clarifies "essential" construction projects

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 11:45 AM EDT
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Last week, the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) asked Governor Gretchen Whitmer to deem all construction field operations as non-essential in order to protect the health and safety of industry employees and allow Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be focused on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic at hospitals and medical facilities, according to a news release from MITA.

MITA said after discussing the request with the administration, MITA Executive Vice President Mike Nystrom issued the following statement:

“We respect the Governor’s decision to continue work on state projects where and when our contractors and their workers can stay on the job in a safe manner. Our understanding is that essential construction projects will proceed where possible and where the health and safety of workers can be protected following the universal precautions recommended by public health agencies and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Michigan Department of Transportation projects will continue unless it is determined that there are COVID-19 concerns that precipitate a delay or shutdown. Local agency and other critical infrastructure projects can also proceed if the local government owner deems the project essential with the above public health conditions and precautions also being respected."

MITA said one of the main terms of their agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation is that a contractor, who has workforce concerns and/or other project impacts that are directly related to the coronavirus pandemic such as labor force shortages, supply chain challenges, or PPE concerns, can make MDOT aware of those concerns and impacts and request the project be shut down and postponed.

MITA said MDOT will agree to shut down and delay the project with the acknowledgment that an extension of time for the delay will be granted.

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