WILX TV: Some Michigan road projects scaled back because of inflation

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 6:16 PM EDT
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Road construction project projects across Michigan are being scaled back because of rising costs.  The price of construction is up 30% in the last three years.

Lansing said the price tag to rebuild one mile of Waverly Road is 60% more than what was expected, forcing city leaders to go back to the drawing board,

“I just wish they could fix it. Do what they need to do,” said Raginald Beckum.

Beckum lives off Waverly in Lansing. He’s one of many drivers who would like to see all the crumbling streets in Lansing fixed.

“I feel like the go ahead and spend the money to get it done. The roads are bad here,” said Beckum.

Work was supposed to begin this spring to rebuild a mile of Waverly between Holmes and Jolly Roads.

But, that project costs 60% more than what Lansing budgeted for.

“It’s sort of a crapshoot in knowing what your prices are going to be and whether you’re going to have a lot of people bidding or not,” said Andy Kilpatrick, Lansing Director of Public Services.

Now, that project is on a detour. Kilpatrick said the Waverly project is now cut in half hoping to bring it down to budget.

“We want to get the project done because we don’t do a project because we want to, but because it’s necessary. To have to scale something back or pay a lot more money and then down the road to not be able to do as many projects, that’s difficult I think for everyone,” said Kilpatrick.

The price jumps come as communities across the country are starting to use new federal money to fix their roads.

“We can’t stop proceeding forward. We have to fix these roads,” said Lance Binoniemi, VP of Government Affairs at Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association.

Binoniemi said many road repairs can’t be pushed back too much longer.

“The longer you take to repair them, the worse condition they get in. And then the more it costs to be able to repair in that situation as well,” said Binoniemi.

Beckum said he wants to see the city do what it can to get all the roads fixed. “If they have to spend more, go over their budget, go over the budget! Get it done. And do it the right way,” said Beckum. The city hopes to get the scaled-down version of the Waverly Road project in late summer. The bidding process will begin in June. Other projects across Lansing also came in over budget, but the city said it was able to absorb much of those costs.