We're starting to see signs that Michigan's 5th season is wrapping up. Flatbed trucks are being loaded with concrete barriers via crane and barrels are being scooped up and stacked.

Related: Where Do Michigan Orange Barrel Go During the Off-Season?

Using this summer's road construction between Lansing and Jackson on US 127 as a reference point, we reached out to the Michigan Department of Transportation to find out just how much work and safety materials are needed to make it safe for road workers to improve our commute. We also asked just how long it takes to reopen those lanes.

Packing Up Michigan Construction Season


We've spent the last several months dodging orange barrels and dealing with exit closures and now we are looking at perfectly good, brand-new, smooth-as-silk roads -- that we can't drive on because the barriers haven't been moved yet. Why haven't they been moved yet?

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In many cases, it's either due to the fact that more construction is happening a mile or so ahead, so reopening that lane might be premature or it's because the construction area needs to be cleaned. For instance, the road grime builds up under the concrete walls that divide the highway after months of traffic, rain, and storm debris.


Don't forget that all the temporary lanes need to be demolished and all those traffic lines that rerouted vehicles need to be removed and new ones painted.

Related: Headlight Tampered With in Michigan? Call the Police Immediately

Then every single piece of construction equipment and safety materials need to be removed. There can't be that much right? It's just a few cones and barrels, shouldn't take too long.

I asked the Michigan Department of Transportations Communications Representative for the University Region, Aaron Jenkins, to provide statistics on what equipment is needed to close one lane of a two-way highway, making a single lane of traffic, using the project on US 127 as a reference point.

Move It! No. What's Needed For a 1 Mile Lane Closure in Michigan?

Why not just open the lanes on holidays? Michigan residents have asked that question and the answer will surprise you. A LOT that goes into a Michigan Mile of Road Construction.

Discover the Enigma of Michigan's Orange Barrel Hideaways

Give Em Brake Safety is one of the State of Michigan's largest suppliers of road construction safety materials (orange traffic barrels, barricades, cones, signs) needed for road construction lane closures. The amount of equipment and storage they have is mind-boggling, here's a look by location.