Michigan DOT to Close Some Welcome Centers and Rest Areas Due to COVID-19 Layoffs
Lansing, MI – The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is temporarily closing five Welcome Centers due to layoffs amid the COVID-19 economic fallout.
On Friday, MDOT said it is closing its Sault Ste. Marie, Monroe, Coldwater, New Buffalo, and Detroit Welcome Centers for a two-week period period beginning Saturday, April 25, through Sunday, May 10.
MDOT communications officer, James Lake, tells Transportation Nation Network (TNN) layoffs of State-funded maintenance and sanitation crews led to the closures.
Lake confirmed that the “ramps and parking lots” of the affected Welcome Centers will also be closed to all travelers, including truckers.
MDOT previously closed rest areas at Menominee and Iron Mountain, and they remain so at this time, Lake said.
However, he informed most of the State’s other 63 rest areas remain open at this time, with the exception of five that are closed seasonally (St. Ignace, Topinabee, Hebron, Ludington, and Hart), and one that is closed due to drainage issues (Chelsea).
Lake indicated private contractors service the rest areas which remain open.
MDOT closed the information lobbies of all Michigan Welcome Centers as of March 13, and until further notice, in accordance with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home ordered issued on March 11.
Governor Whitmer has come under increasing pressure from critics in recent days for issuing some of the most restrictive orders of any governor in the country.
The Trump Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has repeatedly urged states to keep Welcome Centers and rest areas open for truckers during this time of national emergency.
An outcry within the trucking industry quickly erupted last month when the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) abruptly shuttered all of its rest areas statewide.
PennDOT has since mostly reversed course.
TNN will be monitoring new developments in Michigan in the coming days.