The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association on Friday officially asked Governor Whitmer to deem all construction field operations as non-essential to protect the health and safety of industry employees and to allow for all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be focused on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic (at hospitals and medical facilities). After discussing the request with the administration, MITA Executive Vice President Mike Nystrom issued the following statement:
“We respect the Governor’s decision to continue work on state projects where and when our contractors and their workers can stay on the job in a safe manner. Our understanding is that essential construction projects will proceed where possible and where the health and safety of workers can be protected following the universal precautions recommended by public health agencies and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Michigan Department of Transportation projects will continue unless it is determined that there are COVID-19 concerns that precipitate a delay or shutdown. Local agency and other critical infrastructure projects can also proceed, if the local government owner deems the project essential with the above public health conditions and precautions also being respected.”
The cornerstone of the agreement between MDOT and MITA is that a contractor, who has workforce concerns and/or other project impacts directly related to COVID-19 (labor force shortages, supply chain challenges and/or PPE concerns), can make those concerns and impacts known to the Department and request the project be shut down and delayed. The Department will agree to shut down (delay) the project, with the acknowledgement that an extension of time for the delay will be granted.