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10-year Asset Management Plan would bring 90% into good or fair condition

DETROIT -Today, Wayne County released a baseline report that will be used to develop and implement its first-ever 10-year Asset Management Plan (AMP) for its roads and bridges. According to the report, Wayne County would need to invest more than $3 billion over the next decade to achieve the goal of having 90% of its roads and bridges in fair to good condition and all critical bridge needs addressed by 2029.


"We are the birthplace of the modern road system and we are one of the most significant economic regions in the country, but our roads are falling apart," said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. "We need about $3 billion over the next 10 years, and that's not even counting our subdivision roads. We can't put Band-Aids on our roads and bridges forever, it's time to pay the piper."

Key takeaways from the report, based on preliminary annual investment needs and condition forecasts, include:

  • An ever-growing percentage of road and bridges are in poor to critical condition and the root cause of these conditions is decades of underinvestment. The report indicates that 58% of roads are in poor condition based on recent data compared to 42% in 2017.
  • The system of roads and bridges will deteriorate to unacceptable levels of service without additional investment. It will take more than $40 million of additional annual investment just to maintain current road conditions. It will take as much as an additional $300 million annually to reach the goals of 90% of roads and bridges in fair to good condition by 2029. That does not include local subdivision roads.
  • 31% of bridges in the National Bridge Inventory are in poor to serious condition and $70 million is needed now solely to address priority bridge structures -- the Miller/Rotunda Road and Grosse Ile Parkway bridges.
  • Preventative maintenance of good roads and bridges allows scarce funding to go further as part of a larger "right fix, right time" strategy that will be a core strategy of the AMP.


"An increasing number of our road and bridges are in poor to critical condition, and they are going to deteriorate faster without significant investment," Evans said. "Developing an Asset Management Plan will help us get more out of our money through preventative maintenance, but there's no way we can address our infrastructure crisis without a massive infusion of cash."

The next steps in the initiative include developing fixes, analyzing the impacts of different funding options and preservation strategies, and developing a rolling 10-year Asset Management Plan to guide investments in the system moving forward. That plan will put an emphasis on preventative maintenance, which keeps good roads in good condition longer and is less expensive than rehabilitation or reconstruction.

"The average age of bridges in Wayne County is nearly 70 years old, but we count on them daily to get to work or the doctor or sports events for our kids," said Beverly Watts, Director of Department of Public Services for Wayne County. "It's the oldest, largest and most unique set of local bridges in the state. There are 18 different types of bridge substructures, three movable bridges and 12 bridges that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Fixing and maintaining them is costly."

The County expects to have the 10-year Asset Management Plan ready in November. It will be updated and revised routinely as new information becomes available. The plan is committed to a data driven approach to infrastructure based on regular system assessments.

"We can't just wait for things to shake out at the state level, we need to get the most out of every penny we have now," Evans said. "And if something gets done in Lansing, we'll have that much better of a plan to put additional funding to use."

The full preliminary report will be available online, and data will be updated as new information becomes available. The additional investment forecasts are preliminary in nature and based on forecasting models and software, such as Roadsoft and the Bridge Condition Forecasting System, that have been used by transportation agencies in Michigan for many years to help guide system investment planning.

Further Analysis of Road and Bridge Conditions

According to the report, approximately 58% of the roads in Wayne County are in poor condition, 34% fair and only 8% in good. The road inventory covered a total of 897 miles of federal aid roads and non-federal aid non-subdivision roads. It did not include the 773 miles of local subdivision roads.

In regard to bridges, the County has 310 structures, 231 which are inspected and maintained as part of the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) federal guidelines. Of those 231 NBI bridges, 69% are in good or fair condition, 20% in poor condition and 11% in serious or critical condition. Of those 231 NBI bridges, 35 are open but with reduced weight loads and 10 are closed. (Three additional non-NBI bridges are closed). The County has 11 "big" bridges with replacement values exceeding $10 million.