Dozens of road projects in southeast Michigan, including seven of 10 major work sites in Oakland County, have been shut down after a contractors association locked out unionized road builders during stalled labor negotiations. 

The dispute started Tuesday between the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and the Operating Engineers Local 324, which has refused to bargain a new contract with the industry association after its five-year deal expired in June.

Read more: Union lockout halts work at some Mich. road projects

"Contractors haven't called our workers back to work yet," said Dan McKernan, a spokesman for the union, on Wednesday. "For us, the only thing it will take is for contractors to call them. There are no other actions to take here and while our workers are laid off, they will be trying to find other work."

Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of MITA, said he hopes the shutdown comes to an end quickly. 

"We're now through day two and we haven't heard from the union," he said. "Some projects continue to see progress with non-union subcontractors, but several have been shut down." 

McKernan said work has stopped on Interstate 696 in Wayne, M-59 in Macomb, Interstate 94 in Jackson and the Interstate 75 bridge project heading into Detroit.

Jeff Cranson, an MDOT spokesman, said MDOT is trying to compile a list of affected areas but was not able to provide it Wednesday. 

"... All the major projects are facing potential impacts," said Cranson. "I hope to get a comprehensive list of MDOT projects potentially affected but it’s very fluid. The specific local for that union may be locked out but that does not necessarily mean the entire project is shut down."

Cranson said MDOT is not party to the negotiations.

Under MDOT contracts, road construction companies are required to maintain safe work zones for motorists in active project sites until the project is completed, officials said, even during delays due to labor disputes.

The contracts also call for MDOT to grant extensions because of labor disputes, similar to provisions for acts of God, the statement said. If disputes happen, contractors could incur costs for which they will not be compensated, officials said.
"MDOT takes delays very seriously, working very hard to alleviate congestion and the inconvenience to drivers," the statement said. "So, of course, we hope the two sides reach agreement soon."

Wayne County

  • Savage Road (Harris to Gentz) in Huron and Sumpter Township

If the strike is not resolved by Friday, the following projects could be shut down, Wayne County officials say.

  • Middlebelt Road (Goddard to Wick) in Romulus
  • Van Horn Road (Inkster to Arsenal) in Brownstown Township    
  • Sibley Road (Telegraph to Racho) in Brownstown Township        
  • Toledo Bridges(Allen & Pennsylvania) in Southgate               
  • Greenfield Road (Michigan to Ford) in Dearborn                     
  • Wyoming Avenue (Ford to CSX RR) in Dearborn/Detroit
  • Outer Drive (Allen to Toledo) in Melvindale                               
  • Outer Drive (McNichols to Schaefer) in Detroit          

Macomb County

Mound Road and M-59.

Oakland County

Seven of 10 major construction projects are shut down, including:

  • Pine Tree resurfacing in Orion Township
  • Dequindre widening reconstruction, Long Lake to Burning Bush in Troy/Sterling Heights
  • Opdyke bridge replacement over the Clinton River in Auburn Hills
  • Adams Road resurfacing, Square Lake to South Boulevard in Bloomfield Township and Troy
  • Tripp Road reconstruct, Dixie Highway to Van in Groveland Township
  • Baldwin widening/reconstruction, Gregory to Waldon in Orion Township
  • Culvert replacements and resurfacing on Walton Boulevard, Adams to Squirrel in Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills

Projects ongoing, but may be shut down:

  • South Boulevard, Adams to Crooks resurfacing in Rochester Hills and Troy
  • Wixom Road bridge replacement over Huron River in Commerce Township
  • Secord Lake Road bridge preventative maintenance in Addison Township

Projects scheduled to start next week, but may be shut down:

  • Grand River intersection widening with South Hills in Lyon Township
  • Orion/Flint/Miller intersection roundabout construction in Orion Township

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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