State Transportation Commission adopts final
LANSING, Mich. – Today, the State Transportation Commission (STC) approved the final version of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) 2023-2027 Five-Year Transportation Program (5YTP) for posting on the MDOT website and transmission to the Michigan Legislature, state budget director, and the House and Senate fiscal agencies by March 1, 2023, as required under state statute. MDOT invited public and stakeholder input on the draft document from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31.
The 5YTP contains a list of planned projects for the MDOT Highway Program (state-maintained roads, bridges, and facilities), as well as information on the Public Transportation, Rail, and Aeronautics programs. The document helps connect MDOT’s long-range goals and strategies for asset management with project programming and monitoring of performance measures and budget targets. Highlights of this year’s 5YTP include:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2022
Entering seasonal shutdown requires closing a portion of
northbound I-75 in Oakland County this weekend
– Northbound I-75 will be closed from I-696 to 14 Mile Road starting Saturday morning.
– The posted detour will direct northbound traffic to northbound M-1 (Woodward Avenue).
– Local traffic will be able to enter northbound I-75 at 14 Mile, Rochester, Big Beaver, and Crooks roads.
MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. - Weather permitting, northbound I-75 will be closed this weekend from I-696 to 14 Mile Road to allow crews to safely reopen all travel lanes on northbound I-75. After the weekend, northbound I-75 will have three lanes open from I-696 to 14 Mile Road, with the ramps at I-696, 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads reopening by Nov. 15.
The northbound freeway closure will begin at 5 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14. Northbound I-75 traffic will be detoured west on I-696 to northbound M-1 (Woodward Avenue), then eastbound Square Lake Road back to northbound I-75. Entrance ramps to northbound I-75 will remain open for local traffic from 14 Mile Road to Crooks Road/Corporate Drive.
Four join the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor
LANSING, Mich. – A long-serving and innovative Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) director, a creative MDOT leader and problem-solver, a passionate supporter of railroad safety, and a tireless advocate for transportation systems and improving career opportunities for minorities and women were among those inducted on Oct. 26 into the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor.
The Hall of Honor, a permanent display in the Van Wagoner Transportation Building in Lansing, was established in 1971 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to developing Michigan’s network of highways, roads, streets, transit systems, railroads, airports, and waterways. Members are elected by a committee representing a wide range of transportation industry organizations. With the inclusion of this year’s honorees, a total of 92 people has been inducted into the Hall of Honor.
Here are this year’s honorees:
Kirk T. Steudle, South Lyon, served as director of MDOT from 2006 until 2018, spanning two administrations, an unprecedented tenure in the department’s modern era. Among myriad accomplishments as director, he laid the foundation for innovation, overseeing the department’s first “bridge slide,” its first public-private partnership (P3) for freeway lighting, and the state’s first freeway “flex route,” allowing for the use of the shoulder during peak times on the heavily traveled US-23 corridor north of Ann Arbor. Steudle played a key role in negotiating an agreement with the Canadian government for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, including creation of the international bridge authority for oversight.
As a nationally recognized thought leader in the deployment of connected and automated vehicles, Steudle helped open the 32-acre Mcity at the University of Michigan, dedicated to researching the technology. He also was a leader in developing the 500-acre American Center for Mobility, where he briefly served as interim CEO/president in 2018. Steudle served a number of years on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) board of directors, including a term as president in 2011-2012. He also served on the ITS America Board of Directors, including a term as chair, and as a member of the Transportation Research Board executive committee.
Gregory C. Johnson, Wixom, served in a number of significant leadership roles at MDOT, including as chief operations officer from 2011 to 2015. In that role, he oversaw a department-wide realignment to gain efficiencies and better responsiveness to customers in a challenging transportation funding environment. Prior to serving as COO, he served as MDOT Metro Region engineer, shepherding some of the state’s largest freeway projects, including rebuilding M-10 (Lodge Freeway), I-96 west of Detroit, the I-94/US-24 (Telegraph Road) interchange, and completion of the Gateway project, which significantly improved the flow of traffic between Michigan and Canada.
Johnson was a champion of trying new things and leading on innovations, including paperless construction, construction manager/general contractor project delivery, and design-build and other innovative bidding methods. His uncanny ability to resolve conflicts and forge relationships with disparate groups, including the construction industry, lawmakers, and local officials, earned him a reputation as a problem-solver. Johnson was a staunch advocate for disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) and was instrumental in relaunching the Conference of Minority Transportation (COMTO) in Michigan.
Sam A. Crowl, Troy, was known as “Safety Sam” for his energy, attention, and dedication to railroad safety through his extensive railroad experience spanning more than five decades and a career with four railroad companies. In 2009, Crowl was appointed state coordinator of the nonprofit Michigan Operation Lifesaver, where he served for more than 10 years promoting the overall organization’s rail safety message through conducting classes and training sessions, attracting volunteers, staffing educational booths at events, coordinating the annual Rail Safety Week, working with government officials, and communicating with the media. He secured tens of thousands of dollars in grant funding to help support the organization’s outreach activities over the years. Through his hard work and passion for safety, Crowl has undoubtedly saved many lives and prevented injuries to the public, especially children, around railroad property and at crossings.
Sharmyn Elliott (1955-2022) demonstrated a tireless commitment to improved transportation systems for the public and was a passionate advocate for opportunities for minorities and women. He had a 45-plus year career in infrastructure engineering and was a steadfast supporter of multimodal transportation users. He was not able to attend college and joined the workforce immediately after graduating high school. He was unashamed of his education in the “University of Hard Knocks.”
Elliott began his career in 1973 as a construction field engineering technician and ascended to top positions with various firms, lastly as vice president of Somat Engineering, Inc. and CEO of Somat Engineering of Ohio, Inc. Among his many honors, he was selected to represent the transportation industry in 2021 as a subject matter interviewee for the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation DBE reauthorization and was a board member of COMTO Michigan and COMTO National. Elliott was a strong supporter of MDOT’s Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program (TDRP), which began with four college interns in 2014 and in 2022 placed 65 interns within MDOT and the industry.
Congratulations to this year’s honorees for their hard work, dedication, and service to the community.
Driving safely in work zones saves lives! Protect MI work zones by taking the pledge.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2022
AASHTO honors MDOT with 2022 President’s Transportation
Awards in equity and partnerships
– MDOT recently received two 2022 President’s Transportation Awards from AASHTO for work in equity and building partnerships.
– The MDOT executive team was recognized for creating a chief culture, equity, and inclusion officer and reorganizing various working areas under that role.
– The department also was recognized for partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the MDOT Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program.
ORLANDO, Fla. and LANSING, Mich. – The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) presented two 2022 President’s Transportation Awards to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for work in equity and building partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The awards were announced last week at the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
“It is an honor for me and other department employees to be recognized for our commitment to equity and inclusion and the work we are doing with our partners to be sure those values underpin our work,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “I’m also pleased at the spotlight this puts on our Transportation Diversity and Recruitment Program’s (TDRP) vital work providing opportunities for historically under-represented students.”
The President’s Transportation Award for Equity recognizes MDOT’s executive team: Director Paul C. Ajegba, Chief Operations Officer Bradley Wieferich, Chief Administrative Officer Laura Mester, and Chief Culture, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Terri Slaughter.
The murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and the widespread protests that followed, forced many organizations to confront the challenging issues of race, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
At MDOT, senior management saw the crisis as an opportunity to reorganize, creating a new position titled chief culture, equity, and inclusion officer. This deputy director-level position oversees areas within the Bureau of Transportation Planning, the Office of Organizational Development, the Office of Business Development, the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, and the Office of Economic Development. In addition, the chief culture, equity, and inclusion officer will help MDOT make meaningful progress in optimizing its organizational culture, aligning equity and inclusion goals with business outcomes, and determining how MDOT’s long-range plans and investments will impact safety, access, and mobility for all the state’s transportation users.
The President’s Transportation Award for Partnerships honors MDOT’s work with HBCUs through the TDRP, which offers valuable on-the-job training and job shadowing to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in engineering or other transportation-related careers.
The goal of the TDRP is to recruit and introduce underrepresented groups of students to transportation-specific career opportunities. While participating in this program, students will develop professional competence, long-range career goals, integrate work experiences with academic knowledge, establish a professional network, and earn income that can assist with college expenses.
TDRP students will work alongside other MDOT-sponsored on-the-job training program participants, internal staff and external professionals who provide engineering, technical, inspection, and project management services for state road and bridge projects.
AASHTO represents state departments of transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation.
Photos courtesy of AASHTO:
|Equity award (left to right): Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director; Laura Mester, MDOT chief administrative officer; Bradley Wieferich, MDOT chief operations officer; and Dr. Shawn Wilson, past AASHTO president and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development secretary.
|Partnerships award (left to right): Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director; James Fults, MDOT Workforce Programs and Recruitment Unit manager; James Jackson, MDOT Transportation Diversity Recruitment strategy coordinator; and Dr. Shawn Wilson, past AASHTO president and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development secretary.|
Mackinac Bridge Authority urges Michigan Senate to pass legislation to protect Michigan’s bridges from trespassers, ensure safety of motorists
ST. IGNACE, Mich. - The Mackinac Bridge Authority today called on the Michigan Senate to take action on House Bill 5315 (Damoose, R-107) which was passed with overwhelming support in the Michigan House on February 16, 2022. The legislation – which was set for a vote by the full Senate last week but was inexplicably pulled from the agenda at the last minute – would make it a felony to trespass on Michigan’s major bridges including the Mackinac Bridge.
The Mackinac Bridge Authority pursued the legislation following incidents that endanger the safety of motorists and workers who need to investigate these incidents.
“It is time to stop playing games with this piece of legislation,” said State Rep. John Damoose. “The Mackinac Bridge is arguably the most critical piece of infrastructure in our state, and it is our duty as legislators to protect it. I call upon my colleagues in the Senate to pass House Bill 5315 immediately.”
The legislation would also apply to the Houghton-Hancock bridge, the Grand Haven Bascule Bridge, the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, the Ambassador Bridge, the Blue Water Bridge, the Zilwaukee Bridge, the International Bridge, the Charlevoix Memorial Drawbridge, the Windsor Tunnel and all other movable bridges.
“This legislation is imperative to maintaining safe driving conditions and send the message that these risky stunts will not be tolerated. Senate Republicans have the ability to move this legislation to the Governor’s desk but have inexplicably failed to do so,” said Shorty Gleason, Chair of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, and member of the Authority for 18 years. “With one session day left before they start campaigning, they still have an opportunity to get this legislation done.”
At the same time, the Senate is also considering legislation (Senate Bills 1078 and 1014, McBroom, R-38) that could threaten the safety of motorists, by expanding the types of motorized vehicles that can operate on the Mackinac Bridge to include farm implements that are currently only allowed on the “back” roads of Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge Authority is strongly opposed to SBs 1078 and 1014.
Farm implements vary greatly in purpose, size, width, weight and are currently prohibited from traveling on any “limited access” highway. SBs 1078 and 1014 would allow non-trailered farm equipment to drive on the Mackinac Bridge. The legislation was introduced in response to a farmer who wants to drive a manure-spreader across the Mackinac Bridge without using a trailer and following the permit process that everyone else follows. The Mackinac Bridge Authority has no evidence of the kind of demand that would warrant this serious change in law. Senate lawmakers are also considering linking the three bills together through a procedural move that would kill HB 5315 unless SBs 1078 and 1014 became law.
“The idea that Senate lawmakers might link the manure legislation to House Bill 5315 is shocking. Motorists in Michigan deserve to have the Senate pass legislation to stop trespassers from disrupting bridge crossings, and hold them accountable, without linking it to legislation for one Senator seeking a special-interest carve-out. No other industry would benefit from this counterproductive legislation,” said Bill Milliken, Jr., member of the Bridge Authority.
“The Mackinac Bridge Authority gave due consideration to SBs 1078 and 1014 and is always willing to work on common-sense legislation. However, these bills do not fit the definition of ‘common-sense’ and therefore we remain strongly opposed to this legislation,” said Tricia Kinley, member of the Bridge Authority.
“I have spent three decades working in the legislative process, and this is a classic example of how bad bills get passed, since they can’t stand on their own merit. We need Senate Republicans to remain focused on legislation to ensure the safety of motorists using our bridges; passing House Bill 5315 without linking it to bad legislation is a great way to do so,” concluded Gleason.