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