Could we be looking at winter with an entire direction of I-696 remaining closed?
That’s the concern of Warren Mayor Jim Fouts amid an ongoing labor lockout that has ground road constructions projects in the region to a halt.
He’s asked Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to declare a state of emergency to intervene in the disagreement between the Operating Engineers Local 324 and the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, a group of contractors.
For his part, a spokesman for Governor Snyder has said that a state of emergency would “do nothing” to deal with the issue.
Work has been halted for more than two weeks due to an impasse, and there are no signs the two parties are coming to the negotiating table.
In his letter, Fouts outlines the dangers of traffic congestion on main roads and in neighorboods in Warren. He says traffic accidents have surpassed all of last year by 27%, and it’s only September. He also outlines concerns for emergency response vehicles.
Another major metro Detroit road project affected by the impasse is south of the city. The I-75 bridge reconstruction over the Rouge River sits quiet.
Last week, media reports said that Governor Snyder was consulting with the attorney general’s office and looking at possible legislative action. Taking the dispute to the courts to push the two sides together is also reportedly on the table.
In the meantime, the clock is ticking. Mother Nature doesn’t wait for labor disputes, and if work doesn’t resume soon, the projects may not be completed by winter.