Guard nearing end of mission

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Sgt. Brian McLeod of Michigan’s Army National Guard surveys the Coles Creek Road work scene.

ATLANTIC MINE — With roads cleared, culverts unplugged and several reconstruction projects completed, the National Guard is nearing the completion of its mission in response to the June 17 flash flood that hit the Copper County.

The Guard attachment, which has fluctuated in number from 69 to 75 soldiers, was deployed to aid in emergency response shortly after floods-damaged infrastructure.

Orders for the main crew will end Friday. That could change, but the Guard’s role of emergency response is wrapping up as Houghton County moves into the recovery phase, said Maj. Lucas Lanczy.

“Our main goal is to make sure that emergency services can get to everybody’s homes,” Lanczy said.

He said the Guard is not in the road-finishing business but the emergency response one. The emphasis was on prioritization and access under the supervision of the Houghton County Road Commission.

Projects have included the now-completed guard work on Old Mill Hill Road, road clearing, unplugging culverts and work in Tamarack.

As of Tuesday afternoon, long-term work on Coles Creek Road was wrapping up after Cole Creek washed away a road segment, requiring it to be returned to its traditional banks and new materials trucked in to fill the empty roadway.

Mine rock from Baltic Pit was added, and while it may not look or feel pretty to drive on, the area is now passable, which is a necessary improvement.

Also on Tuesday, troops were being deployed to work on Beacon Hill near Freda.

“We always have a fan section, particularly people who live on the road that are waiting for the road to open back up,” Lanczy said.

The soldiers have been working 12-hour days out of the Calumet Readiness Center Armory to make roads passable again for emergency vehicles.