MDOT:  Engineering Adventures: Midland Flooding

Have you ever wondered what happens when a dam breaks?

How about two dams at the same time?

In this video, MDOT Bay Region Associate Region Operations Engineer

Kimberly Zimmer walks us through the events and response due to the

catastrophic Wixom and Sanford Lake Dam failures.

 

2/27/2021     Michigan's aging dams need money, manpower to avoid 'grave situation,' report says, by Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press

The owner of the failed Edenville and Sanford dams, Boyce Hydro Power LLC, for years refused to make necessary spillway improvements called for by federal regulators to handle major flood events. The company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a myriad of lawsuit filings following the dam failures and flooding.  "The owner just said, 'I don't have the money; I'm not going to do it.' And he filed for bankruptcy when it failed" - Robert Daddow, Deputy county executive under L. Brooks Patterson in Oakland County for 28 years.

 

[ Scroll down for a pic of the fat-n-happy Trump supporting dam owner ]

June 3:  After Midland flood, Wixom, Sanford lake residents face long, complicated restoration, by Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press 

Detroit Free Press:  Midland church swallowed by floodwaters: 'It tears a hole in your heart,' by Phoebe Wall Howard, 5/23/2020

Detroit Free Press:  Harrowing tales of Michigan residents escaping the Midland flood: 'A nightmare movie,' by Jeff Seidel, 5/23/2020

  

SatPhoto2019 06 03Vs2020 05 20

 

May 22:  Before-and-after satellite images of flooding in Midland County show water's destruction, by Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press

May 22:  State confirms Sanford Dam failed, satellite shows before-after flood images: What we know, by Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press

Boyce Hydro, for the second straight day Thursday, issued a statement pointing a finger at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) for the dam failure and draining of Wixom Lake, which spurred the evacuation of 10,000 residents and led officials to declare an emergency.

Meanwhile, EGLE confirmed Friday morning that the Sanford Dam, downriver of the Edenville Dam, also failed. It had been unclear whether the second dam had breached — or whether water was just spilling over.

Detroit News:  Trump grants Whitmer's request for emergency declaration over flooding, by Melissa Nann Burke, 5/21/2020

Detroit News:  Dangers of Edenville dam failure evaded state scrutiny, by Beth LeBlanc, 5/21/2020

LeeMuellerLasVegas2019 04 18 736w633h20pct

Detroit Metro Times:  Owners of dam flooding Midland ignored federal regulators for years, by Lee DeVito, 5/20/2020

 

Detroit Free Press:  No pending Oroville, but Michigan's aging, crumbling dams pose a risk, by Keith Matheny, 2/14/2020

Most Michigan dams no longer serve the purpose for which they were built in the late 1800s or early to mid-1900s — power for things such as grist and sawmills and, later, hydropower for small communities whose increasing power needs have since led them to tap into the electric grid.

Detroit News Photos:  Flooding devastates Mid-Michigan region, 5/21/2020 

 

May 20   MLiveLake vanishes after Michigan dam fails during record flooding

May 20:  Mid-Michigan flooding after Edenville, Sanford dam failures: Everything we know, by Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press

May 20:  Wixom Lake turns into a giant beach after the Edenville Dam bursts, by Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press

Michigan Environment Watch:  Watch videos, see tweets of flood damage from Edenville Dam failure, by Kathryn Dugal, 5/20/2020

Michigan Radio:  Midland County residents spending Memorial Day weekend cleaning up from massive flood, by Steve Carmody, 5/22/2020

Bridge:  Mid-Michigan dam that failed was cited for years for safety violations, by Kathryn Dugal, 5/20/2020

Detroit News:  State says it didn't pressure Boyce to raise water levels before dam failure, by Beth LeBlanc, 5/21/2020

Detroit News:  Tittabawassee crests at 35 feet: 'Never had an event like this,' by Francis X. Donnelly and James David Dickson, 5/21/2020

Bridge:  As floodwaters bear down on Dow Chemical, worries about water toxins, by Robin Erb, Kelly House, 5/20/2020

Detroit News:  Dangers of Edenville dam failure evaded state scrutiny, by Beth LeBlanc, 5/20/2020

Detroit News:   Stunned evacuees face 'unthinkable' flood damage, by George Hunter and Francis X. Donnelly, 5/21/2020

Detroit Free Press:  Whitmer: Michigan will 'hold people responsible' for dam failures, by Frank Witsil, 5/20/2020

Bridge:  Feds revoked dam’s license over safety issues. Then Michigan deemed it safe. By Riley Beggin, Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House, 5/20/2020

MLive: Sanford Lake Dam owner Lee Mueller says he's not paying for $83,000 repair project, 1/21/2019

MLive:  Gov. Whitmer addresses Midland after dam break and flooding: ‘We’re gonna get through this,' by Riley Murdock, 5/20/2020

WDIV-4 Detroit Video:  Flooding: Lake Wixom emptied in Edenville, 5/20/2020

Detroit News:  Pilot captures aerial view of dam breach in Midland County, 5/19/2020

 

May 19   MLive:   Footage captured of the Edenville Dam embankment failing to hold back floodwaters

Edenville, Michigan. MLive / Youtube video Courtesy Lynn Coleman

 

MLive:  Feds warned years ago Edenville Dam couldn’t handle a historic flood, by Garret Ellison, 5/20/2020

Bridge:  Mid-Michigan dam that failed was cited for years for safety violations, by Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House, 5/19/2020

The Edenville dam that catastrophically failed and prompted thousands of evacuations was cited repeatedly by federal authorities, who allege its owners had a “long history of noncompliance.”

Detroit News:  Feds revoked Edenville Dam license over fears it could not survive major flood, 5/20/2020

Detroit Free Press:  EGLE said failed Midland County dam in 'fair' condition after inspection in late 2018, by Keith Matheny, 5/20/2020

Detroit Free Press:  Mid-Michigan's catastrophic flooding adds to state's pandemic woes, by Frank Witsil, Jeff Seidel and Angie Jackson, 5/20/2020 

MLive:  Officials work to dispel rumors amid record-breaking Michigan flooding, by Robert Acosta, 5/20/2020 

MLive:  Flooding near downtown Midland as seen by drone, by Kaitlyn Farley, 5/19/2020

At 6:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Midland County Emergency Management determined that the Denville and Sanford dams are structurally sound.

MLive:  Residents told to evacuate after Edenville Dam failure in Midland County, by Robert Acosta, 5/19/2020

MLive Video:  Floodwater pours through Midland County dam, 5/19/2020

MLive:  Officials report flooded roadways, evacuations and dams unable to control water in mid-Michigan, by Isis Simpson-Mersha and Kaitlyn Farley, 5/19/2020 

Midland County Emergency Management stated that the Edenville and Sanford dams are “structurally sound but spilling floodwaters” as of around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Midland County worked with representatives from Boyce Hyrdo, a hydroelectric power plant in Sanford, to make this determination. However, MCEM noted that the dams can no longer control or contain the water flowing through the spill gates.

MLive:  Loss of power dam license could lower Wixom Lake by 8 feet, by Chris Ehrmann, 1/29/2019 

MLive:  Michigan just had record-breaking heavy rains, here’s where most of it fell, by Mark Torregrossa, 5/19/2020 

 

July 19   Update 4: (Part 2) Edenville Dam Collapse Wixom Lake Flood 2020 - The Falls, Fish and close-up Dam

- YouTube video by Jordan Mowbray

 

 

1/13/2021   MDOT seeking public comments on US-23 Flex Route extension through Feb. 4, Report by Jennifer Timar, The Livingston Daily

MDOT University Region Planner Kari Martin said there will also be new 10-foot wide sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists on M-36 and Silver Lake Road over the highway. The sidewalks will be built on both sides of the roads and through the roundabouts.

 

MDOT environmental and noise supervisor Tom Hanf said that while MDOT found 17 locations along the route that could benefit from noise barriers, only one barrier is planned near the southbound US-23 ramp on the northwest corner of the I-96 interchange, which is north of where the flex route will end.

 

He said the other 16 barriers would cost too much. If a barrier is estimated to cost $49,878 or more, MDOT does not build it, Hanf said.

 

Some bridge maintenance work is also planned for two overpasses on Grand River Avenue and the Lee Road bridge, and two bridges over the Huron River will be modified, but no overpasses will be replaced.

7/27/2020   US-23 Flex Route Phase 2 Operational and Environmental Study 

Plans, data and documents presented at the 7/27 virtual Public Meeting

Undated but containing the invitation to the 7/27/2020 public meeting:   Newsletter: US-23 Flex Route Phase 2

 

Our reports on the original 9 mile stretch of Flex Route:

 11/9/2016   MDOT Presents US-23 Flexible Route Plans in November 9th Session 

- Our photos of the poster session artwork. Most of these were never made available on MDOT's website.

 11/12/2015   MDOT US-23 Aesthetic Concepts Open House

MDOT showed off its proposals in a two hour poster session on the second floor of the Public Safety Building.  Hundreds attended.  About a dozen MDOT engineers and administrators were present to answer questions and take comments from the very interested public.  

 

Maps, bridge and overpass renderings and elevations, schematics of the 9 mile mile route showing locations of proposed changes were presented in posters. 

 

Proposals for landscaping plantings were presented.  The Township was asked to contribute to the cost of landscaping but our perpetually broke Township didn't follow up on the offer.  So, except for a few annuals having been planted, no landscaping occured.  The annuals died, as annuals do.

 

Our photos of the poster session are presented as links.  This was to allow those limited in internet download speeds and by data plans to download only what they could afford. 

 

The photos are literally frames of 1080P, taken with a handheld video camera as I walked in front of the posters.  The Public Safety Building 2nd floor lighting was terrible.

 

A year later, online versions of these pieces of poster art had still not been made available by MDOT or Parsons, its agent handling this. 

 

So this was it.   

 4/15/2021   US-23 Anti-Congestion Project Wins Local Go-Ahead

 

2/23/2015   MDOT's 2015 US-23 Plan Update

8/14/2014   MDOT's 2014 US-23 Plan Update

 

MDOT Flexroute 23 concept illustrations  [ These are the same drawings shown for the initial 9 mile stretch of US-23 Flex Route.]

Public Comment Form:  US-23 Flex Route Extension Project

 

 

In a November 15, 2016 MLive story, Ryan Stanton reports that the latest study of the long fantasized Ann Arbor to Howell rail line estimates its construction cost at as high as $122 Millon.  Potential annual running costs could exceed $13 Million. 

Stanton: "As for potential funding sources for the capital costs, estimates show 75 percent could come from state and federal sources, with a 25 percent local match.

For the full-service option, that includes $91.8 million in state and federal funds, and $30.6 million in local funds."

On Tuesday night, November 15, the results of the study will be presented to interested (or worried) taxpayers at a 6:30-8:30 p.m. Community meeting, held at Slauson Middle School, 1019 W. Washington Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This is the last of three Community meetings staged by the North-South Commuter Rail group.  The first was held last week at the Northfield Township Hall.  The second was held November 14 in Howell.

WallyMoneyTrain

The cost estimates are vastly greater than the original promises.  Northfield Township Manager Howard Fink is a member of the North-South Commuter Rail (WALLY) working group.  One is forced to wonder if the outrageous costs influenced the fact that the 'Northfield Township' 'Newsletter' issued no public notice of the November 9th WALLY Community Meeting until three hours before the meeting's staging at the Northfield Township Hall.

According to James C. Walker of the National Motorists Association (n.b. a lobbying group advocating traffic laws based on safety, not revenue)

Using the middle scenario of $65.2 million in capital costs and $7 million/year operating costs, here is what that might mean.  If the $65.2 million in capital costs is amortized over 20 years, that = $3.26 million per year amortization + $7 million operating costs = $10.26 million per year total costs, or $28,109.59 per day total costs.  Divided by 835 users per day = $33.66 per day per user costs.

Naturally, we will be told that it will all be paid for with free money.

[Fresh Photos of the Posters!

On the evening of November 9, 2016, at the Whitmore Lake High School, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) hosted a public meeting to provide information about upcoming construction on US-23 between M-14 and Silver Lake Road.  This was a poster session with no formal presentation.  Renderings of the final designs of interchanges, landscaping, and FlexRoute Messaging were shown on easels in the Whitmore Lake High School lobby.  MDOT staff engineers and Brighton Area Regional Director Mark Sweeney answered questions.

MDOT 11 9 2016 Jack Rick University Region Engineer pic1 proc 500w198h

Jack Rick, of the University Region MDOT, explaining the 8 Mile Road interchange.

(Higher resolution photo of Jack Rick explaining the 8 Mile Road interchange)

MDOT 11 9 2016 FlexRoute Overview pic1 proc 500w748h

Overview of the FlexRoute  (Higher Resolution MDOT US-23 FlexRoute Overview - 110KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 8 Mile Interchange pic 12 proc 500w334h 

8 Mile Road Interchange    (High Resolution image of the 8 Mile Road Interchange - 729KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 8 Mile Interchange pic1 proc 500w334h

8 Mile Road Bridge by night   (High Resolution image of the 8 Mile Road Bridge by night - 600KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 8 Mile Interchange pic7 proc 500w342h

Daytime view of the 8 Mile Road Bridge   (High Resolution image of the 8 Mile Road Bridge by day - 790KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Mark Sweeney Brighton Region Head Engineer pic3 proc 500w914h

Mark Sweeney, MDOT Brighton Area Regional Director

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Detours 8Mile to M36 pic2 proc 500w471h 

The old 8 Mile Road Bridge will remain in place while the new one is constructed to its north.

(Higher resolution drawing of Detours from 8 Mile Rod to M-36 (780KB))

MDOT 11 9 2016 Detours Barker to 8Mile pic2 proc 500w625h

Detour: Barker to 8 Mile Road    (Higher Resolution Image of Barker - 8 Mile Road Detour - 780KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Detours Territorial to 6Mile pic2 proc 500w493h 

Detours: North Territorial to Six Mile Road   (Higher Resolution Image of N.Territorial - 6 Mile Road detour - 780KB)

The Eastbound lane of the Territorial Road bridge will remain open.

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Territorial Road Roundabouts pic1 proc 500w337h

Territorial Road Interchange and Roundabouts   (High Resolution rendering of Territorial Road work - 800KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Territorial Road Overpass Aesthetics pic1 proc 500w337w

Territorial Road Interchange Aesthetics    (Hi Resolution image of Territorial Road Interchange Aesthetics - 840KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Territorial Road Overpass US 23 northbound view pic1 proc 500w338h 

Territorial Road Overpass, Northbound View   (High Resolution Image of Territorial Overpass)

(Yes, that is a very vintage Volkswagon van)

MDOT 11 9 2016 Territorial Road Overpass center pier detail pic1 proc 500w662h

Territorial Overpass Center Pier   (High Resolution detail of Territorial Overpass Center Pier)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Territorial Road Overpass Southwest birdseye view pic1 proc 500w277h

Territorial Road Overpass, Birdseye view from Southwest   (High Resolution: Territorial Road Overpass, Southwest Birdseye view)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Warren Road Overpass pic3 proc 500w326h

Warren Road Overpass Aesthetics   (High Resolution image of Warren Road Aesthetics)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Barker Road Interchange pic4 proc 500w327h

Barker Road Bridge Aesthetics    (High Resolution image of the Barker Road Bridge Aesthetic details)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Noise Barriers pic2 proc 500w674h LoRes 

Along the northwest shores of Whitmore Lake is the only stretch of US-23 that will have a Noise Barrier.  The red line shows its approximate location.

According to MDOT Engineers, a drain across the path of the barrier may interfere with its construction.   The final barrier may end up being shorter than shown above.

(Hi Resolution aerial view of the US-23 Whitmore Lake Noise Barrier - 800KB)

 

MDOT 11 9 2016 Incident Warning System pic2 proc 500w349h

Flexroute Sign announcing an "Incident Ahead"

(Hi Resolution image of the US-23 Flexroute Sign announcing an "Incident Ahead" - 800KB)
 

The MDOT US-23 FlexRoute Project webpage

The History of US-23

MLive: Ann Arbor U.S. 23 'Flex Route' cost-effective fix to traffic jams, MDOT says, Lindsay Knake, November 10, 2016

"While it's the first active traffic management system in the state, there are similar systems in Illinois, Washington and West Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration."

Livingston Daily: U.S. 23 construction of Flex Route starting Monday, Jennifer Eberbach, November 3, 2016

Residents in Livingston and Washtenaw counties have been invited to learn about upcoming improvements to U.S. 23 between Brighton and Ann Arbor, a congested and aging stretch of one of Michigan's most heavily traveled freeways.

A public meeting with Michigan Department of Transportation officials will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Whitmore Lake High School, 7430 Whitmore Lake Road.

The estimated cost is about $92 million.

Livingston Daily: Three roundabouts coming to Eight Mile, Jennifer Eberbach, October 13, 2016

Mike Goryl, a traffic engineer for the Livingston County Road Commission, said they would "be like (three) Chilson and Coon Lake roundabouts side by side," which will be "simple, single-lane roundabouts."

"You should not have the same issues" that motorists have at Lee Road, Goryl said.

8 Mile Road Interchange Plans.  The current bridge will remain in place during construction.

Livingston Daily: MDOT officials discuss US 23 revamp, Jennifer Eberbach, October 3, 2016

This FlexRoute system, along with bridge, ramp and road work is expected to cost around $120 million.

"You don't have to put a permanent third lane out there," MDOT University Region Engineer Paul Ajegba said.

"You have a peak-hour congestion problem in the morning and in the evening in each direction. This solves that problem and it's less expensive," Ajegba said.

Livingston Daily: Slew of US 23 projects to revamp congested corridor, Jennifer Eberbach, September 28, 2016

The U.S. 23 corridor project will involve replacing bridges, widening bridges and installing a new "Flex Route" traffic-management system with electronic signage along the freeway in Washtenaw and Livingston counties. The complex, multifaceted project will also include bridge repairs, upgrades to ramps and medians, and pavement repairs.

 

Livingston Daily:  Lee Road roundabout redo considered, Jennifer Eberbach, June 10, 2016

When the roundabouts were built, it was assumed that traffic volume would increase over time. The Michigan Department of Transportation built the one in question in 2006 with the involvement of the nearby Green Oaks Village Place mall.

They were designed to handle 2030 traffic volumes.

However, in 10 years, the number of vehicles that use hasn't really changed.

2010 aerial image of the 3 lane roundabout at Lee and Whitmore - Livingston County Road Commission

Livingston County Road Commission Concept: Changes to Whitmore Lake Road at Lee Road Roundabout

 

 

 

 

WALLY MI Train Banner 360w

What can explain only giving us three hours notice of this meeting?

From: Northfield Township <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: November 9, 2016 at 3:18:30 PM EST
Subject:Newsletter - Community Meetings TONIGHT
Reply-To: Northfield Township

 

North-South Commuter Rail Feasibility Study Community Meeting

       Wednesday, November 9, 7:00-9:00 PM

       Northfield Township Offices - Board Room
       8350 Main St
       Whitmore Lake, MI 48189


The North-South Commuter Rail (WALLY) is a proposed 27-mile long commuter rail service on existing tracks that would connect Ann Arbor and Howell, with intermediate stops along the way. The intent of this meeting is to provide an update on the status of the North-South Commuter Rail project including a summary of service options evaluated, costs and ridership. There will be a presentation at the beginning of the meeting followed by discussion to answer questions and obtain public input on the project and the process. For additional information, please contact Michael Benham at AAATA at (734) 794-1851 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

http://www.theride.org/AboutUs/News-Events/News/ArtMID/2233/ArticleID/1172/North-South-Commuter-Rail-Feasibility-Study