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Storm damaged road repairs prove costly for Marquette County cities

Ishpeming and Negaunee Township will not be receiving state dollars to fund streets damaged by torrential rain in May.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Road repair costs from last month’s torrential rainstorm are adding up.

The Marquette County Road Commission and the City of Ishpeming are now faced with the bill.

A stretch of County Road 510 in Negaunee Township near the Noquemanon Trail Head was washed out for miles in the aftermath of the storm. Same for a small portion of County Road 550 between Big Bay and Marquette. The Marquette County Road Commission has temporarily fixed these two roads as well as others that were damaged after the storm.

“We have band-aided them up and we were waiting to see if we could get some state funding to permanently repair those roads,” Marquette County Road Commission Engineer Manager Jim Iwanicki said.

In Ishpeming, parts of Jasper Street, Old Farm Road (which leads to U.P. Health System - Bell), Ely Street and others were damaged. Ishpeming City Manager Craig Cugini added that hilly roads were hit the hardest.

“We saw some areas where the asphalt cracked and fell off,” Cugini said. “We also saw some areas where the asphalt was undermined and the roadbase underneath it was washed away, including some shoulder damage to roadways.”

Cugini noted that many of these damages have already been fixed by the City of Ishpeming.

As for the Marquette County Road Commission, Iwanicki said the state will not be giving it money to cover repair costs. Iwanicki added that this is because the State of Michigan did not declare last month’s storm an emergency or a disaster.

This disqualified the Marquette County Road Commission from receiving state funding to fix any damages the storm caused. Forcing the road commission to pay out of pocket to permanently fix these stretches. The Marquette County Road Commission has yet to come up with a permanent solution to mend the damaged roads.

“We will take a look at our bandaid repairs and see what we should be doing to fix them a little bit better,” Iwanicki said.

For the City of Ishpeming, it’s the same story. While Ishpeming has already permanently fixed the roads damaged by last month’s rainstorm, repairs have cost it $513,000. Cugini emphasized that these costs are taking a toll on the city’s budget.

“About one-sixth of our annual budget went into repairing these damaged roads this year,” Cugini said. “A small rural community can’t sustain one-sixth of its budget being taken away unexpectedly.”

The City of Ishpeming plans to work with the state in hopes of getting funding to cover the price of repairs. While many streets like Old Farm Road have already been permanently repaired, the $513,000 is currently a total loss for the city.

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