Road repairs still needed after Father’s Day flood

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HOUGHTON COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — The 2018 Father’s Day flood left serious damage all across the Copper Country.

Repairs continue to be done throughout Houghton County, but an area that needs the most attention is the roads.

Kevin Hargeo, County Highway Engineer, Houghton County Road Commission said, “For the motoring public to be patient and we are working on the repairs as quick as we can. When it’s all said and done, everything should be better. We’ve been doing a lot of improvements on drainage issues through mitigation, which also takes a long time because it has to go through a long review process, but there should be some significant draining improvements through out the county when everything is completed.”

The Houghton County Road Commission is doing everything in their power to make these changes before another disaster rolls through, but they are short on cash.

The road commission has some funds, but not enough to aggressively move forward.

“All of our local roads fall underneath the FEMA program that required a 25% match, we had about $15 million dollars worth of damage in our local system. The state is paying that match for us on that program. Our primary roads fall under our federal aid program, which is a federal highway, that requires a 20% match. We have $2.5 million dollars worth of damage on our federal aid route, which requires a $4.5 million dollar match. We currently took a loan out through the state to pay that match, while we look for those revenues,” said Hargeo.

Most of the current projects are expected to be done before winter comes.

Hargeo said, “The Mason Hill project is going to be open to traffic by mid-October or late-October. The Paradise Road, which is really our large project, is about a $1.7 million dollar project that has a 42-foot span, that should be completed by mid to late October also.”

Senator McBroom and Representative Markkanen have been working with the Houghton County Road Commission on getting a billed passed that would help pay back the commission for the money they spent on their roads.

While the $8.8 million federal dollars will go to repairing state roads, these counties are still left with hundreds of miles of local roads in need of repair.

Their goal since the flooding has been to make sure there are safe, alternative routes until all roads can be fixed.

In total, they have about 170 roads in the county which need work done in the county which covers about 850 miles.

Total cost for repairs to those 170 roads could be upwards of $40 million dollars.

County officials are working to include about $6 million dollars in next year’s budget to help hold up their part of a loan.

For more information on the Houghton County Road Commission projects, click here.

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