The roads have stopped being as busy, so some are seeing this as a time to work on roads. The maintenance projects in many states are behind schedule even before the COVID-19 problem came about. Some states are having a push back, even though many projects are meant to save lives and vehicle conditions. The discussion on the matter is still ongoing, which has people watching. The conditions of the roads affect everyone, especially in high population urban areas.
Most of the road maintenance in the United States is considered a state or local issue. That means that they are taking the brunt of any fallout about work done during this pandemic. Michigan is currently dealing with a strong push from the unions to stop all work. Some states are instituting procedures to keep works safe while projects continue. Some places have even stopped work altogether. This contentious issue is bringing in comments from many people for and against.
Many of the people trying to stop and are stopping projects do have medical information behind why they want this. The ones keeping the projects going are trying to maintain safe distances and cleaning procedures so that workers are kept safe. That is not enough for some, but many are seeing less traffic as the best time for all of this to get done.
In Texas, they are seeing the chance to extend the times lanes and roads are closed during this time. They are able to fix roads that normally have high traffic counts and not interrupt commutes. They have specific roads in mind for this, which is going to speed up the time tables that had been in place. They are evaluating as needed and will have to shorten the times back down when businesses start opening back up after the COVID-19 closures.
Arizona is continuing its maintenance and construction projects along all the state roads. The state is doing everything from paving projects to rock removal to keep the roads going. The state has determined that they need to do this or the road conditions will be worse when the emergency status is lifted. There are no anticipated situations that the state sees disruption.
While Michigan is going with protests from groups, states like Illinois are still going. Even with a stay at home order, the state is still working to maintain roads. They are filling jobs and keeping to the schedule while trying to keep workers safe. Many states are following this approach through the rest of the nation.
There are organizations like the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) that are wanting to get funding locked in place now for maintenance. They are working with state and federal legislatures to make sure that funding is in place now for ongoing maintenance. These groups are seeing a chance to get the roads in shape while approximately 52 percent of the population has stopped traveling. Many cities are closing roads right now to all traffic and just have them open for pedestrians. They are even considering making this permanent. They see this as a chance to change the way the city does things.
As mentioned earlier, there is also a big push from some unions to shut down maintenance during the crisis. While Homeland Security has listed its workers as essential, these groups see working as a risk for their people to get the virus. This could mean projects that were behind would get further and so some roads could get worse because of the weather. They are citing the areas where work has already been suspended.
Road maintenance is ongoing in the United States, even though there are many arguments about this happening. Many states have changes in place, but see the need to not let road issues be suspended when there is a sharp decline in traffic.