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Audit slams MDOT over road warranties

striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Road construction along I94 in Jackson County, Michigan (file photo)

A new report says the Michigan Department of Transportation has done a poor job of ensuring that road builders repair problems with their work.

Michigan started a warranty program to ensure road builders come back and repair problems. The report says the state hasn’t followed up to ensure the work gets done. 

“At the end of the day, I think we’re doing some good things, and we’re learning along the way, and we’re getting better,” said MDOT Director Kirk Steudle.

He’s not disputing the problems outlined in the report. But he says Michigan has pioneered the use of road construction warranties.

“There’s no road map. Right? We can’t look to anywhere else in the United States and say, how do we do this?” Steudle said.

Steudle says one of the challenges is no state has tried a road warranty program as expansive as Michigan’s. Another is ensuring the state doesn’t spend more on enforcement than it gets back in savings. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.