Road construction resumes with lockout ended

- For many in Michigan, the sounds of construction work on roads never sounded better.

The co-owner of Nino Salvaggio on Hall Road where work had completely stopped said he is happy to see these workers back on the job.

"I'm just excited both parties came together and they are back at work and that we are going to get these roads repaired," said Frank Nicolella.

For nearly 3 and a half weeks a work stoppage put the brakes on nearly 200 road projects across the state, including Hall and Mound Roads and I-696 - all three in Macomb County.

"When they shut down they really put us in harm's way," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "Talking to the governor's office - fortunately I have a great relationship with him - we were going back and forth as to what can we do."

As the work stoppage continued, Gov. Rick Snyder held a meeting with members of the contractors' association and operating engineers' union, hoping to bring about a resolution.

On Thursday the governor's office announced that the meeting served as a catalyst for a short term solution, allowing the association and union to agree to continue working without a contract through the 2018 construction season putting workers back on the job. 

"We couldn't be happier to be back out on the roads in Michigan, working and doing what we do best," said Dan McKernan, Operating Engineers Local 324.

The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association which represents contractors told Fox 2 that: "Our contractors have heard the message from the governor and understand the moral obligation to put this dispute aside."

Moving forward, many are asking how a work stoppage can be avoided in the future. 

"We need to figure out some language here whether it is legislative or contractual to make sure that this doesn't happen again," Hackel said.

But for now motorists want to know if the projects will get done on time.

"I can't say we'll be able to complete them all by the end of the year, but I can definitively say we are going to work as hard as we can to get the ones that can be wrapped up, wrapped up," McKernan said. "And the ones that we can't, to make them safe for motorists in the winter."
 

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