Open M-43? They'll have to drain the swamp
Luke Froncheck, Staff Writer, reports that to open flood-plagued M-43, the state and Barry County will have to drain a swamp – and that's what they say they intend to do by July 10.
The flooded portion of the state highway that snakes between Cloverdale Lake on the west and a swamp on the east side has kept the road closed since May. Before the water levels got too high, M-43 was the dividing line between the two – but no longer.
According to Barry County Drain Commissioner Jim Dull, the plan is to drain that small swamp into Cloverdale Lake, and then pump the excess water into Long Lake. Dull said this would not be flooding anyone out because they will simultaneously pump water out of Cloverdale Lake and into Long Lake while they are draining the swamp into Cloverdale.
“We’ll be pumping water out (of Cloverdale Lake) faster than we’ll be putting water in,” Dull said.
Once the water is in Long Lake, it will then flow into Fall Creek and farther north through the connected chain of lakes. Dull said he and his engineers will have to watch the culvert between Long Lake and Fall Creek.
The permit for the work has been approved through the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
The closure of the highly trafficked roadway ended up with motorists using a detour that took them around Cloverdale Lake and added time to the commute for those residents who used the highway to get to work.
“Our goal is to have it open on or before July 10,” Michigan Department of Transportation representative Steve Wessels said.
“I’m thankful that MDOT, EGLE and our drain commissioner are finally implementing a plan to open M-43 at Cloverdale road in the next few weeks,” said county Commissioner Dave Jackson, who represents the area affected by flooding. “It has been a source of many phone calls and ongoing frustration to see a major highway in Barry County be closed for over six weeks and counting.
“Flooding continues to be an issue all over southern Barry County and this plan takes into consideration the ongoing high-water issues on Cloverdale Lake.”
Jackson, who said the battle with high water and flooding is far from over, added that he appreciates the patience of citizens as possible solutions continue to be vetted through the state.