The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, January 31, 2014

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

RTW benefits are only ‘anecdotal’

LANSING – Last month, reports Progress Michigan, the state Republican Party mailed a fundraising letter urging supporters to donate and keep the conservative agenda moving forward in 2014, citing Right to Work as an example and claiming it has already “helped bring nearly 200,000 jobs back to Michigan.”

But when asked point blank how many jobs Right to Work has created, Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Mike Finney demurred, saying they’ve heard “anecdotal feedback,” but that it’s impossible to know.

“Gov. Snyder sold himself to voters as a data-driven, moderate accountant who could get Michigan on the right track.  His inability to track the impact of a policy he ‘championed’– Right to Work – is as worrisome as it is questionable,” said Lonnie Scott, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “If the Michigan Republican Party knows how many jobs have been created by Right to Work, Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation should make that data publicly available. And if Gov. Snyder’s party is making indefensible claims about his signature achievement as a tool for fundraising, he should correct the record immediately.”

The bridge slide comes to Michigan

For the first time, the Michigan Department of Transportation is going to try the new “bridge slide.”

It’s a new dance, of sorts. Instead of the traditional method of demolishing an old bridge and then rebuilding a new one in its place, MDOT, at two locations in Michigan, will require contractors to build the new bridge right next to the old one. When construction is complete, the old bridge is demolished, and the new one is slid into place.

“The new bridge is built on skids,” said MDOT spokesman John Richard to MLive. “Sometimes they just use Dawn dish soap to lubricate them, and then they slide the bridge into place. It really cuts down on the time the bridge is out of service.”

The bridge slide method is planned this year for a new I-96 overpass on M-50/Alden Nash Avenue SE in Kent County. The new method, used on about 30 bridges in the U.S., could cut down to just hours the time it takes to slide a new bridge into place. The existing method, or course, requires re-routing traffic and months-long road closures.

“You’ll definitely see a lot more bridge slides taking place just because of the less impact on traffic,” Richard said. “It’s really changing the industry. All the engineers at MDOT are very excited.”