Work OK’d to fix M-15 sinkhole

Work OK’d to fix M-15 sinkhole

City Manager Jonathan Smith explains the drain problem on M-15 to City Council. Photos by Phil Custodio

Investigating a hole off M-15 at 20 N. Main Street, workers found a one-inch water pipe under the state route piercing the east-side storm drain, said City Manager Jonathan Smith.
The pipe would have been laid during Michigan Department of Transportation’s road work on M-15 in 2003. It has since allowed dirt to collect in the storm drain, eventually leading to the sink hole, Smith said.

The compromised drain allowed a sinkhole to open.

City Council voted 5-0, Monday, to approve up to $20,000 to fix the drain and replace the pipe. Replacing the pipe will cost at least $10,000. An alternative is patching the pipe, which would cost about $1,000, he said.
Council members found the patch option too risky – if it failed, the road could collapse, costing $1 million to fix. The city has about $234,000 in its Water Fund, which can only be used for water projects, Smith said.
“We have a rainy day water fund we can use only for water – for these circumstances,” he said.
MDOT and Independence Township Water Department workers ran a camera through the drains, revealing the water line running through it.
The city manager will work with MDOT on sharing the cost of the project, which should be completed this week.
“We’re not done negotiating with them,” he said. “It’s important they get started on it right away – this is all happening very quickly.”
Watch for workers and traffic disruption as they dig up M-15 to reach the drain.
– Phil Custodio

One Response to "Work OK’d to fix M-15 sinkhole"

  1. tammie heazlit   May 18, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Sigh. Its not as if I haven’t ranted about this before, but here we go again.
    If the City/township/county/state would follow Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWP3) that are more than just check lists and paperwork, expensive projects like this 2nd “sinkhole” (collapse feature is a more accurate term) could be avoided.

    I lost count of the number of times I”ve filed/voiced complaints about lack of sediment and erosion control protections, pretty much anywhere locally, other than the sites i actually file a complaint about, which seem to be the vast majority of any level of compliance
    I”ve also lost count of how many times I’ve witnessed residents sweeping crushed/mowed dead leaves, grass clippings and random street debris into the very storm drains that would impact this particular failure.

    This is why the “Outreach and Education” aspect, one of 6 MINIMUM control measures required under the City’s/all SWP3, is so crucial to effective management. The intent is that EVERYONE understands their contribution to municipal impacts so that they can be minimized to the maximum extent practicable.

    In the past, I have offered to train municipal personnel (including township) for FREE, so that they understand their responsibility and can effectively execute requirements.

    My experience includes training by the EPA Division of Water, Work as 2nd in command at a state level of the entire program, and managing Stormwater at the 2002 Olympics. But apparently, that’s not worth anything here.

    Enjoy paying for your expensive, fully preventable repair. Taxpayers may want to listen to someone who trys to help, that has expertise, and demand it from their municipal “leaders”. At this point it would have saved you thousands of taxpayer dollars.


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