During this week’s Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, MDOT discusses how COVID-19 is affecting mobility, how they are supporting relief efforts, and the 2020 construction season.
The segment regarding the 2020 Construction season begins at minute marker 17:00 and begins with the following question.
Question “Do you see any reason that this will delay any project starts or anything that we’re doing to prep for the season?”
Response, “Right now we’re going to continue our normal operations and anticipate that our construction projects will remain on schedule.”
Click here to listen to the entire podcast and learn about all of the following topics:
First, Scott Greene, manager of MDOT’s Utility Coordination and Permits Services section, talks about the decision to exempt from seasonal weight restrictions trucks hauling food and vital supplies for relief efforts.
Following MDOT’s decision to waive the restrictions for specific vehicles, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order ordering those same exemptions for local road agencies as well as MDOT. The order also requires all road agencies to expedite the permitting process for non-seasonal load restrictions.
The governor’s order also requires road agencies to suspend restrictions on the noise and timing of deliveries that meet immediate needs related to relief efforts.
Next, Jean Ruestman, director of the MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation, talks about the effect on public transit services and how agencies are adjusting. The largest operators of public buses in Metro Detroit are waiving fares for riders in response to the crisis as are some other agencies around the state.
While the health crisis is thinning crowds on public transit across the country, Ruestman talks about the vital role these services play in getting people to and from work, doctor’s appointments, and retail outlets for food and medicine.
In related news, Amtrak has made several service changes. In Michigan, these include suspending passenger rail service on the Pere Marquette between Grand Rapids and Chicago and reduced service on the Wolverine line, connecting several Michigan cities with Chicago.
Finally, Gregg Brunner, director of MDOT’s Bureau of Field Services, joins the podcast to talk about whether the health crisis will have any effect on the coming construction season.