BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, EDITOR
Portions of three roads across Charlevoix County were shut down late last week due to flooding.
Repairs to damages on just one of the roads could run into the tens of thousands of dollars and take weeks to fix.
“It’s a combination of all the snow we had a few weeks ago and the ground’s saturated and the rain we had last night and this morning—the ground can’t take any more,” said Charlevoix County Road Commission Staff Engineer James Vanek. “So, anything more that falls just accumulates.”
The three roads closed included a portion of Ferry Road near Ye Nyne Olde Holles Golf, where a large section of the road was washed out down to the culvert.
“There’s no timeframe on when that will be opened,” Vanek said. “It could be quite a few weeks. We’ve got to get a new culvert and quite a bit of prep work done before we can open her up. But, we’re working hard to get it done.”
Peninsula Road near Dutchman’s Bay was closed because the southbound lane was compromised.
And, Dixie Highway south of Charlevoix near the county line was closed because one of the lanes collapsed due to water going over it.
Vanek said he hasn’t seen spring road conditions this bad before in the county.
“Our crews here in Boyne City are working here on Saturday to get some of our gravel roads that are washed out fixed up,” Vanek said on Friday May 4. “If Peninsula Road goes down enough, maybe Saturday it will be opened but more likely Monday it might open back up.”
As far as Dixie Highway, Vanek said it might be closed “for a while.”
“Thank goodness all three roads have good detour routes,” Vanek said. “Ferry Road, they can use Ridge Road, that’s preferred because it’s paved. Peninsula, they can go up Dutchman’s Bay to Advance to go around. Dixie, they can stay on US-31 or use Norwood Road to go around.”
Vanek said the detours are all relatively short.
Though he said he hated to even estimate the cost to fix the roads at this early time, Vanek said road repairs could easily be in the $50,000 to $75,000 range.
“It’s not going to be cheap,” Vanek said. “But, we have our reserves here in different funds like construction and maintenance. Thank goodness we do have some financial means here to make these repairs.”
Ferry Road was shut down between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. last Friday. Peninsula was closed soon after. Dixie Highway wasn’t closed until around 2 p.m.
Drivers can find updates on the roads at the road commission’s Facebook page.
Vanek urged anyone who finds roads in dangerous condition to call 9-1-1, and they will notify the road commission.
“I’d like to stress: do not drive through water over the road,” Vanek said. “It may look shallow, but you don’t know what condition the road is in. Turn around and call 9-1-1.”