Gilchrist visits Grand Rapids road construction site to tout bond plan

Grand Rapids

The eastbound I-196 bridge over the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids on March. 5, 2021.

*Correction: The original version of this article stated the I-196 bridge work was funded by the Rebuilding Michigan bond project. While the lieutenant governor discussed the project while touring the site, it is not being funded by bonds, state road officials say. We regret the error, which has been corrected.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist visited a large road construction site on March 5 to promote the bonding plan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer implemented in her first year in office.

Whitmer, a Democrat, ordered the $3.5 billion in bonds after her plan for a 45-cent-per-gallon gas tax flopped in the Republican-led Legislature.

“The reason we did the Rebuilding Michigan program is because we have to find ways to invest in our infrastructure that are going to rise to meet the size of the problem,” Gilchrist said in Grand Rapids. “So during this major project here in West Michigan, we’re very proud we’re investing in this project and these resources over the Grand River.”

Gilchrist discussed the project while touring the site where the eastbound I-196 bridge deck over the Grand River is being replaced and widen the highway between Plymouth and Maryland avenues, making the entire stretch between US-131 to I-96 three lanes.

“I’m really proud of how conscientious the construction project has been in terms of dealing environmental concerns about going over the river. They’re very thoughtful about it. That’s the kind of work we’re going to do all across the state,” Gilchrist said.

The Grand Rapids I-196 project is not being funded by the bonds, a Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman clarified to News 8 April 12, but rather from the regular MDOT budget.

The Rebuilding Michigan bonds will pay to rebuild southbound I-196 from Holland to Saugatuck this year and prompted MDOT to accelerate resurfacing on M-37 from Middleville to Caledonia, which will now start in May.

The $26 million project is expected to begin in mid-April.

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