COVID-19 resources for county road agencies

As an essential service provider responsible for Michigan resident drivers, truckers, tourists and commercial businesses using the 90,000 miles of roads under county responsibility, the state’s 83 county road commissions and departments will remain on the job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While it is definitely not ‘business as usual’ in these government offices, the staff at county road agencies are an essential government service and we are all committed to maintaining our transportation infrastructure in service to the public,” said Dave Pettersch, managing director of the Gladwin County Road Commission and president of the County Road Association of Michigan.

Some changes that are occurring at county road agencies:

  • Most have closed their doors to walk-in traffic, and are working with the public via email and phone calls.
  • Most staff are on the job blading and maintaining the roads, working on drainage issues typical of spring, many working in individually in a truck.
  • Board meetings are continuing, taking advantage of Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order relaxing requirements for public meetings.
  • Reductions to road work are being considered, realizing that less fuel is being purchased during these times.

“Road agencies are talking to one another and figuring out new ways locally to do our jobs and communicate with the public, while embracing the social distancing advisories from state and federal officials to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Pettersch said.  “It does help that winter storms are nearly past, but we are prepared for spring flooding, high winds and our other daily responsibilities out on the roads.”

County road agencies will handle all emergencies and much routine maintenance on the county road and bridge system, and in the 63 counties where counties are contracted to maintain the Michigan Department of Transportation system.

Questions specific to your area should be directed to your county road agency.  Also check their websites and social media for updates.

Following are several items of interest for road agencies regarding the COVID-19 situation.  Click the items below for more information or resources. Road agencies may also contact the CRA office at 517.482.1189, or CRA Director Denise Donohue at 517.896.7077.

Impacts of Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-12 waiving seasonal weight restrictions

Modifying seasonal weight restrictions to accommodate COVID-19 relief.  At present, many counties still have seasonal weight restrictions (SWR), which are implemented each March to protect local roads from excess weight during the spring thaw when roads are most vulnerable.  The EO 2020-12 requires county road agencies to waive these requirements for motor carriers and drivers of overweight vehicles providing direct assistance related to COVID-19 relief such as medical personnel or supplies, emergency food restocking and the like.  If this impacts you and you are travelling to a county still on SWRs, please contact the county(ies) directly for assistance.

Click here to view CRA’s map of counties and the status of seasonal weight restrictions.

Communicating with county road agencies during social distancing

Maintaining public contact without contact.  Most, if not all, road agencies have taken steps to reduce person-to-person contact including:

  • Closing to walk-in traffic.
  • Cancelling nonessential meetings.
  • Establishing conference call/virtual capabilities to accommodate public involvement in board meetings.
  • Updating social media with important information.
  • Issuing permits and facilitating other business transactions via email, US mail and phone calls, among other steps.

Residents needing to transact business with a road agency should call ahead to determine the best way to achieve their goals.

Protecting, assisting employees.  As with all businesses, county road agencies are undertaking some or all of these actions:

  • Posting bulletins, training staff and making materials available to clean frequently touched surfaces including steering wheels, doorknobs, countertops, keyboards and workstations.
  • Evaluating which staff can work remotely and accommodating those with children out of school or daycare.
  • Moving in-person meetings to conference calls or on-line platforms.
  • Dispatching workers from remote locations to avoid congregating in the workplace.

Michigan Gubernatorial Executive Orders impacting county road agencies

  • Seasonal Weight Restrictions. Effective now through April 13 at midnight, all state and local seasonal load restrictions are suspended for deliveries that meet immediate needs for: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19; (2) supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and the prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants; (3) food for the emergency restocking of stores; (4) equipment, supplies, and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to the COVID-19 emergency; (5) persons designated by federal, state, or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and (6) persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 emergency.

    Click here to read more.

  • Modification of Open Meetings Act. Effective now through April 15 at midnight, to the extent that the Open Meetings Act (OMA), 1976 PA 267, as amended, MCL 15.261 to 15.272, requires that a meeting of a public body be held in a physical place available to the general public or requires the physical presence of one or more members of a public body, strict compliance with section 3 of the OMA, MCL 15.263, is temporarily suspended in order to alleviate any such physical-place or physical-presence requirements.

    Click here to read more.
    Option for County Road Agencies:
      Link to Facebook Live board meeting information.

  • New Federal Employer Paid Leave Requirements. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.Click here to read more.
    Families First Coronavirus Response Act poster

Click here to view all COVID-19 related Executive Orders.

COVID-19 related health information resources

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus webpage
Get the latest news and updates on developments in the state, find resources and fact sheets for residents and communities, as well as tips for employers and businesses.

  • COVID-19 hotline, available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 888.535.6136.

U.S. Department of Labor

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

Center for Disease Control  & Prevention (CDC) webpage
Find information for polling placesemergency medical services workers and law enforcement here.

World Health Organization (WHO) webpage

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Information on activities underway to address COVID-19, including federal and state resources to help communities and healthcare facilities respond to this issue.