MDOT moves up $9.5M repair project on crumbling M-6

M-6 sealing
Sealant covers a crack on M-6 near the Kent-Ottawa County line. (Feb. 17, 2017)


GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Transportation is moving up its project to repair a crumbling three-mile stretch of M-6.

The repairs to a section of the highway near the Kent-Ottawa County line was slated for 2018, but MDOT said it has reprioritized the project for this year because the concrete joints are quickly deteriorating.

MDOT said workers spent a lot of time last fall sealing up the concrete before winter, but erratic temperatures and heavy precipitation at the start of the year would likely mean more time spent repairing pavement that will soon be replaced.

M-6, MDOT, highway repair
Michigan Department of Transportation crews working on a stretch of M-6 on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.

Last year, state transportation officials told 24 Hour News 8 a key ingredient in concrete was to blame for M-6 crumbling years ahead of schedule.

When the highway was built in 2004, there was a shortage in the natural resin used in highway concrete – an ingredient that adds bubbles and helps the concrete withstand big swings in temperatures, MDOT spokesman John Richard said.

Sealant covers a crack on M-6 near the Kent-Ottawa County line. (Feb. 17, 2017)
Sealant covers a crack on M-6 near the Kent-Ottawa County line. (Feb. 17, 2017)

He said more of the natural resin was being sold to cosmetic companies, forcing the transportation industry to use synthetic resin, which hadn’t been perfected.

That’s why the road has deteriorated so quickly.

“The western end of M-6 is an anomaly. It’s unusual for pavement to behave like this so it kind of bucks the system because we usually know how roads behave and we can put them into our 5 year program, but when a road behaves like this you’ve gotta push it up because it’s bad and we’re going to take care of it.” Richard told 24 Hour News 8 Friday.

This year’s $9.5 million project on M-6 will include replacing the pavement between Jackson Street near I-196 in Ottawa County and Wilson Avenue in Kent County.

The work is expected to begin in mid-to late summer.

A map shows the stretch of M-6 MDOT will repave in 2017.
A map shows the stretch of M-6 MDOT will repave in 2017.