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Shelby Township, Utica

Hayes Road closed due to sinkhole

Long commutes characterize morning after storm

August 12, 2014

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A large sinkhole uncovers a culvert beneath Hayes Road, south of 24 Mile Road. The sinkhole is the result of a culvert failure due to rainfall on Monday, Aug. 11, and will keep Hayes Road, between 23 Mile and 24 Mile roads, closed until a contractor can finish repairs, said Macomb County Department of Roads Director Bob Hoepfner.

The worst damage from rainfall and flooding Aug. 11 in the Shelby Township-Utica area was a large sinkhole that opened on Hayes Road, south of 24 Mile Road.

Bob Hoepfner, director of the Macomb County Department of Roads, said Aug. 14 that a contractor would begin repairs Friday, Aug. 15, and that he believed the sinkhole would be repaired by Aug. 18.

“When you’re digging in the ground, you never know what you’ll find,” he said. Hoepfner said the sinkhole was the result of the failure of a culvert — a tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under a road. Located in the middle of the road, the sinkhole closed Hayes Road between 23 Mile and 24 Mile roads.

Although northern Macomb County was not hit as hard as more southern communities, Aug. 12 was a tricky morning for commuters.

“Utica Road at Hayes Road is underwater; Metro Parkway at Utica Road is underwater,” Hoepfner reported at the time. “There’s nothing you can do until the rain stops.”

Additional nearby road closures due to water, as reported by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners at 9:50 a.m. Aug. 12, included Tilch Road, between Hall and 21 Mile roads; Hayes Road, in both directions from Clinton River Road to north of Utica Road; 23 Mile Road at Mound Road and Van Dyke Avenue; 21 Mile Road at Van Dyke Avenue and east of Romeo Plank Road; and 19 Mile and Garfield roads.

Hoepfner’s advice to motorists Aug. 12 was to “stay home today.”

He said with closures on most local expressways that day, including Interstate 94, Interstate 75 and Interstate 696, people would not be able to get around.

Besides the sinkhole that closed Hayes Road, Capt. Stephen Stanbury, of the Shelby Township Police Department, said he had not received calls about problems due to flooding.

Deputy Supervisor Brad Bates said Aug. 12 that there had been several calls to the township regarding flooding on residential roads, but that he was steering them to the Macomb County Department of Roads so that they could better coordinate efforts to alleviate problems.

About the author

Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News. Sarah has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Oakland University. She won a first place 2013 Excellence in Journalism award for open government reporting and a second place 2014 Excellence in Journalism award for a series of explanatory stories from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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