No stoppages expected this roadwork season

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Road construction season is here. Detours went into effect Monday as a stretch of westbound I-196 in downtown Grand Rapids shut down.

The project, which will take all summer to complete, is among a few big ones on the state’s roadwork docket.

Last construction season, a labor dispute shut down some big projects for more than three weeks. The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, which represents contracting companies, and Operating Engineers Union Local 324, which represents certain workers, finally agreed to go back to work in September and finish what projects they could before the snow started to fly.

The two sides promised to work through the winter toward a new deal. On Monday, 24 Hour News 8 reached out to MITA to find out where the negations stood.

“After many months of negotiations, progress has been made and a contract has been signed by several contractors with the Operating Engineers that is a 5-year agreement,” MITA said in a statement. “We suspect that other contractors will follow suit and sign the agreement that is on the table as well.”

A spokesperson for the operators union said “all systems are go” for a “busy and productive season” this spring and summer.

There are a number of contractors, association groups and labor sources, union and not union, that will be involved in this year’s construction agreements. Not all have signed on, but the representatives who spoke to 24 Hour News 8 Monday seemed positive that it will be a full season with no anticipated work stoppages.

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