MDOT: $30,000+ Worth of Damage After Vandalism at Rest Areas

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-05 18:28:17-04

CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. (May 5, 2014) — Michigan State Police’s Coldwater Post is investigating vandalism at several rest stops, specifically off of US-23 and I-94 West in Galesburg, Marshall, Grass Lake and Dundee. Investigators say it happened sometime late Sunday or early Monday morning.

“I have never seen anything like this in my career, we have no idea why somebody would target these rest areas,” said Sgt. Seth Reed with Michigan State Police.

The suspect(s) broke toilets and caused other property damage, but one thing they all had in common, it was the men’s bathrooms targeted.

Most of the rest stops hit are open and operating. Aside from the Grass Lake rest top the facilities have two sets of women’s and men’s restrooms and crews were able to convert one of the women’s to men’s for the time being.

Some residents wonder if cameras outside the building would help in something like this. MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa says that is something they have talked about, but there are issues that arise in those discussions. Some of those include, cost, the frequent need for it and privacy issues.

“Any time you talk about putting a camera near a rest area or a bathroom type of facility you are treading on thin ice,” he said.

MDOT is estimating the damage to be around $33,000.

The funding will come out of MDOT’s already stretched maintenance budget. The budget is already strained by above-average pothole repairs and winter-related expenditures. On average MDOT spends $88 million on winter maintenance; this winter, it spent $127 million.

“This senseless vandalism is deplorable because it wastes state resources and taxpayer dollars on something that never should have happened,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “At a time when MDOT is working hard to stretch severely limited funding to keep state road pavement in good condition, we are being forced to spend time and money restoring facilities we take pride in maintaining for the safety and convenience of motorists.”

Anyone with information about this vandalism is being asked to call the MSP Coldwater Post at 517-278-2373.