Road commission in need of millions of dollars to fix flood damage

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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Houghton County needs a $4.5 million miracle to complete flood damage repairs this summer.

Nearly $64 million in flood damage hit Houghton County municipalities last summer. Though some of that damage was covered by FEMA and state funds, there is a long way still to go.

"We still have $15 million worth of damage grants through the Federal Highway Administration that requires a 20 percent match. So, we have to come up with $3 million to be able to utilize all those grant dollars," said Houghton County highway engineer Kevin Harju.

The road commission receives only $5 million annually for plowing and summer maintenance. Without the required matching funds, the county could lose FHA grants.

"Well the damages need to be improved. It will really dictate to us how they are fixed. Whether we do the right fix or we just patch it. We're proceeding ahead. We did take a SIB loan out to cover us in the interim. However, we have to pay that loan back," said Harju.

Fixing this washed-out bridge on Paradise Road alone will cost $2 million. The road commission, cities of Houghton and Hancock are seeking additional funds together.

"We were in contact with the legislatures through Lame Duck and we were hoping that possibly there would have been a special appropriation for that $3 million. Between the three of us there is a need for about $4.5 million worth of match monies. Unfortunately that did not happen," said Harju.

The cities and road commission will continue working with Governor Gretchen Whitmer and legislators to find other funding sources.

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