Highway construction may cause a problem for local retailers, eateries and other businesses, but it also means work for road construction companies.
Consider that consultants, engineers, landscapers and construction workers on-site need to eat and shop, and the overall effect may not be so bad.
It also means jobs for the many Michigan-based companies that need such projects to maintain work levels. An estimated 500 construction workers will be employed on the massive project.
“There are so many jobs created by a construction site, not only for construction workers but for local folks,” said Michael A. Nystrom, executive vice president of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.
“These aren’t jobs that you export; it’s not like a manufacturing process that you can do in another country. These are Michigan-based companies that have mostly Michigan-based employees paying taxes here in our state and supporting local businesses.”
The organization is a statewide construction trade association that consists of nearly 600 Michigan companies representing construction disciplines such as road and bridge, sewer and water, utility, railroad, excavation and specialty construction throughout the state.
Those employees range from the people who work for the I-96 contractor, Shelby Township-based Dan’s Excavating, to those who do little pieces, such as the company hired to scope out sewer lines with television cameras to ensure there are no obstructions.
“There is a huge list of suppliers involved,” Nystrom said.
Their work also may lead these companies to buy additional equipment or make other investments, providing another opportunity for economy activity.
The MacKenzie Companies in Grand Ledge have been in the construction contracting field for more than 30 years. Its staff is experienced in the development of commercial, residential, municipal and industrial sites through construction, demolition and remediation activities.
“Construction spending can definitely have a positive effect,” said Michael Marks, MacKenzie’s vice president of operations, noting the company’s crews buy supplies and more from local vendors.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has dedicated its staff to the I-96 project as well, ensuring any snarls and concerns are addressed.
Karen Dybis is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.