MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Two state highways in Marquette County remain closed this afternoon in the aftermath of overnight flooding.
After three to four inches of rain overnight in the area, the US-41 bridge over the Chocolay River between Heidtman Road and Yalmer Road near Skandia was underwater early this morning. While floodwaters have receded during the day, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is keeping the road closed at this location pending a bridge inspection.
"MDOT's goal is to reopen the bridge and restore mobility as soon as possible," said MDOT Ishpeming Transportation Service Center (TSC) Manager Aaron Johnson. "Our primary concern is safety, and MDOT won't reopen the bridge until we are confident that it's safe for traffic."
The posted detour route for northbound US-41 traffic is along CR 456 to M-35, then M-553 to CR 480, and back to US-41. The route is reversed for southbound traffic. Eastbound and westbound US-2 traffic in the Upper Peninsula headed toward Marquette can use M-35 as an alternate route to avoid the US-41 flood closure.
"We are evaluating a potential shorter alternative detour," Johnson said. "We will post signs for that route and notify the public as soon as possible."
M-94 in Marquette County is closed approximately 2 miles west of US-41 due to a major culvert washout. A four-culvert system carried the east branch of the Chocolay River under the roadway. As the river flooded and the large culverts failed, a significant area of roadway was washed away. By a rough estimate, the gap left in the roadway is 90 feet wide and 35 feet deep.
"This is going to be a longer-term closure," Johnson said. "A matter of weeks or months rather than days. We will develop a plan and then design and build a replacement structure."
MDOT is working with the Marquette County Road Commission to establish an official detour route on local roads while this closure is in place.
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