Containment Mission: Workers hold off flood damage from this week’s heavy rainfall

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette A plugged culvert along U.S. 41 by Massie Road threatened to flood the highway until Michigan Department of Transportation workers cleared debris from the grate.

HOUGHTON COUNTY — Volunteers and Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) crews were out along M-26 between Ripley and Hubbell this week containing flood water and trying to minimize damage to roadways.

Members of the Ripley, Tamarack City, and Hubbell fire departments conducted traffic control along the threatened route, while front-end loaders from MDOT pushed mud back to the far sides of ditches, rerouted waterflow and fought to keep culverts from becoming blocked.

“We got called out about (7a.m. on Wedngesday),” said a member of the Tamarack F.D. who did want to be identified. “Hubbell got called out first.”

At the point of the flooding just west of Dollar Bay, the firefighter said while there are no creeks up the hill from the highway, the water was rushing down the hill too fast to be adequately contained by culverts on the hill, and ditches along the road.

East of Mason, the Forsman Road was again the avenue for water rushing over the road while MDOT crews worked to clean culverts and re-direct waterflow.

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Cynthia Drake's home in Ripley is still under repair from June 17 flooding. Water rushing past her house has her concerned for her newly poured foundation. She's invited township, FEMA and DEQ officials out to look at the channel. "I think they see the potential seriousness of the issue," she said.

Another Tamarack firefighter at that scene said the same thing as his partner at Dollar Bay. The water flooding the highway, he said, was run-off from up the hill.

“You can just see it,” he said. “It’s just running down the hill all the way through here.”

He said Hubbell Fire Department was called out at 6:30, and his department was called out a half hour later. He said the flooding was not as bad as that of June 17.

“The problem is, though,” he said, “it’s still not fixed. We weren’t even close to being able to handle more water.”