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County Road Association of Michigan honors innovation in GRS–IBS projects

Awards, News | April 12, 2018 | By:

The County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan honored the state’s Midland County Road Commission (MCRC) with three IMPRESS Awards at CRA’s 2018 Annual Highway Conference in March, CRA announced April 10, 2018. IMPRESS Awards recognize county road agencies that demonstrate innovation with special projects in communications, operations and collaboration.

“Our county road agencies are 110 percent committed to improving local roads, especially after weather disasters,” said Denise Donohue, director of CRA. “Midland County Road Commission is honored for its efforts to keep roads safe for its residents.”

MCRC was awarded an IMPRESS Award and a People’s Choice Award in the Operations Category for its project, “2017 GRS-IBS Bridge Construction Operations.”

Torrential rainfall and severe flooding in June 2017 destroyed four bridges and damaged many others in Midland County, which is west of Saginaw. With significant repairs needed in a short time frame, MCRC, leaning on past experience, turned to geosynthetic reinforced soil–integrated bridge system (GRS-IBS) structures. GRS-IBS structures are flexible and easy to adapt to different site conditions, take less time to complete, and increase safety due to smaller crews and less equipment required. MCRC was able to secure funding for the new bridges and restore access to Midland residents within five months.

In the Communications Category, MCRC also received an IMPRESS Award for its sustained communication efforts during the summer 2017 flooding. MCRC used news releases, social media posts, an information booth at the Midland County Fair, videos and new ESRI software with a GIS technician to create an Interactive Flood Damage Map to keep residents updated on flood damage.

CRA’s 2018 IMPRESS Awards were judged by a panel of communications and operations experts from several of Michigan’s 83 county road agencies. Award recipients were honored for projects that solved time restraints, labor costs, communication barriers and fostered collaboration.

The 83 members of the County Road Association of Michigan represent the unified voice for a safe and efficient county transportation infrastructure system in Michigan, including appropriate stewardship of the public’s right-of-way in rural and urban Michigan. Collectively, Michigan’s county road agencies manage 75 percent of all roads in the state, including 90,000 miles of roads and 5,700 bridges. County road agencies also maintain the state’s highway system in 64 counties. Michigan has the nation’s fourth-largest local road system.

For more information about CRA, visit

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