Road collapsing due to age spurs emergency road crew into action - WNEM TV 5

Road collapsing due to age spurs emergency road crew into action

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

As Mid-Michigan thaws, out come the flaws.

We're not just talking bone jarring potholes, but an entire roadway compromised.

"I didn't realize it was caving in," said Sue Shepherd, Midland County resident.

Midland County Road Commission crews made emergency repairs to West River Road near Sanford Lake on Wednesday.

"Hoping to make it a little longer, but it's not going to make it," said Terance Palmer, Midland County Road Commission manager.

Steel plates across the road are the temporary fix that'll keep it open for the 3,000 cars that go this way each day.

The problem is the culverts are shot and the melting snow is causing the road to erode.

The road commission said this is a major safety concern and has its eyes locked on the stretch. They're prepared to close it down if need be.

"Shutting it down or anything like that, that would be really, that would be difficult," Shepherd said.

Shepherd works in Midland, a 12-minute drive on a typical day.

She said if West River Road is closed, it'll easily be a 20-30 minute detour for people who live north of it.

"Having to drive all the way around it is going to create a lot of issues moving around this area," said Chris Beardsley, Midland County resident.

It'll also cause some serious issues for Cynthia Chapman, the owner of Pineview Grocery and Gas.

"It's gotten worse faster than they expected, I believe," Chapman said.

She said her business banks on the warm-weather months, so a permanent fix needs to happen and happen now.

"I understand it's got to be done for the safety, so my hope is it's done immediately," Chapman said.

Palmer said the plan is to bid out the work to a contractor.

That contractor will then tear out the road and build a bridge in the culvert's place.

He expects it to cost between $200,000 and $250,000.

"Timing's a lot especially since this is the only route up through here," Palmer said.         

It's a temporary inconvenience for a permanent, and more importantly, safe solution.

"The sooner the better. At least before spring really hits and everybody gets moving," Palmer said.

Anyone interested in bidding for the job has to attend a meeting March 14 at 10 a.m. at the site. The bidding process will start March 15 at 10 a.m.

Because this is an emergency, they're going to go for the best value bid. That means they'll took a look at price but also schedule. They want to get this project started as soon as next Wednesday.

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