Departments of transportation in Wisconsin and Michigan are scrambling to repair several state and local highways washed out by historic flooding between June 15 and 17 in northwestern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Governors of both states declared a state of emergency after storms dumped 6 to 10 inches of rain during those three days, and in some areas as much as 15 inches. The rain flooded rivers and creeks, washed out roads and claimed at least three lives. The DOTs have approved emergency contracts to repair roads. About 70 National Guard members have been dispatched in Michigan to help with roadwork.
A state of emergency was declared for Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas and Iron counties where multiple roads were closed due to washouts, being covered by water or because of concerns about their stability, according to the Wisconsin DOT.
As the water receded, the DOT began assessing damage and making plans for fast repairs.
An emergency contract has been awarded for building a replacement bridge on U.S. 2 at North Fish Creek east of Ino. And U.S. 53 near Solon Springs will remain open to single-lane bidirectional traffic northbound until July 3, when all four lanes are scheduled to reopen. An emergency contract was also awarded to replace washed-out approaches to Highway 35 over the Black River in Douglas County.
Partial and complete road closures remain in effect as repair efforts continue in northern Michigan, the DOT reported June 19:
- M-26 is open near the Mont Ripley ski hill after emergency repairs. Flooding caused major damage in Ripley near the ski hill with extensive debris on the road forcing closure. M-26 is open to local traffic only between Dollar Bay and Lake Linden. Emergency repairs continue with some areas having only one lane open.
- US-41 is open between Chassell and Houghton but limited to only one lane open in each direction in some areas. The route suffered pavement damage and multiple shoulder washouts. Multiple repair locations with uneven gravel surfaces require reduced speeds. Emergency repairs continue at several spots.
- M-203 remains closed at Swedetown Creek where a culvert washed out. M-203 remains closed to through-traffic while emergency repairs are being made to fill multiple washout areas between Hancock and Calumet.