Massive flooding closed 724 roads across five counties - WNEM TV 5

Massive flooding closed 724 roads across five counties

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Source: Michigan State Police Aviation Division Source: Michigan State Police Aviation Division

New numbers are showing just how devastating last month's massive flooding was for Mid-Michigan. 

A summer storm unleashed several inches of rainfall two weeks ago, with totals ranging from three to seven inches in just over a three-hour period. 

The massive flooding caused the most problems in Central Michigan, including Clare, Isabella, Midland, Bay and Gladwin counties. Rain and flooding closed 724 roads across the five counties. 

Since the June 22 storm, officials have spent hundreds of hours assessing the damage to businesses, homes, roads and bridges. While most of the roads and bridges impacted have reopened, the damage was costly. 

“County road agencies are on the forefront of response for communities in times of emergency,” said Steve Warren, president of the County Road Association of Michigan and managing director of the Kent County Road Commission. “In this mid-Michigan flooding event, the around-the-clock dedication, efficiency and hard physical work needed to repair over 700 damaged county roads and numerous bridges was impressive. We commend these counties on their efforts to reconnect their communities safely and quickly.”

In Isabella County alone, more than 50 roads were closed due to the flooding. County officials used drone footage for the first time to rapidly asses needed road repairs. 

In Midland County, there were 105 roads reported closed and $13 million worth of damage in infrastructure. Of the 105 roads closed, 16 are still inaccessible. The county has applied for state and federal funding to help in repairs. 

In Clare County, the heaviest rainfall happened near the city of Clare and the village of Farwell. Road commissioners estimate $100,000 in damage and major washouts of 15 roads. It took about 10 days for all 15 roads to reopen. 

Smaller washouts still remain, though. 

Gladwin and Bay County also reported damage to roads and culverts. 

The road closures have also impacted police, firefighters and paramedics. During times of natural disaster, county road agencies act as "pre-responders" to ensure the local roads are safe to travel. 

First responders can't get through until a safe route is secured. 

“It’s important to recognize the public service our county road workers perform ¾ not just daily, but in times of disaster when routes need to be maintained for emergency responders,” Warren said. “Much of the time this work is taken for granted and goes unnoticed, but it certainly needs to be recognized and always appreciated.” 

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. Michigan has the nation’s fourth-largest local road system.

>>Slideshow: Flooding in Mid-Michigan<<

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