M-94 to remain closed while crews evaluate damage

M-94 to remain closed while crews evaluate damage

UPDATE — Thursday October 20th, 2016 6:00 a.m. EDT

An official detour route for commercial truck traffic around the closed portion of M-94 has been established by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Officials say commercial truck traffic on US-41 heading toward the K.I. Sawyer area should follow CR 480 to M-553. Trucks on US-2 bound for K.I. Sawyer should follow M-35 to M-553.

[Map of official M-94 Detour courtesy MDOT]

MARQUETTE COUNTY — After a Tuesday filled with high waters and brave rescues, officials in Marquette County spent Wednesday assessing the damage brought about by flooding on the Chocolay River.

The portion of M-94 between County Road 545 South and Townline Road remains closed after a system of four culverts carrying the river’s east branch beneath the road failed. That failure resulted in the washout of a significant part of the road, leaving a gap about ninety feet wide and an estimated thirty feet deep. Right now, Michigan Department of Transportation crews are trying to figure out what type of structure will replace the culverts, and they won’t know more about cost or exact timing until a plan is in place.

“They’re really just trying to come up with a plan of action, which we will come up with,” said Dan Weingarten, Communications Representative for the MDOT Superior Region. “We are talking in terms of weeks or possibly even months before we can have M-94 reopened, unfortunately.”

US-41 through West Branch Township was back open this morning after water levels dipped low enough for MDOT crews to inspect the bridge that crosses the Chocolay.

“They want to make sure the beams are okay. They want to make sure that the support structure of the bridge hasn’t been compromised by soil being scoured away by this unusual water level,” Weingarten added.

M-94 travelers can use the official detour on Town Hall Road and County Road 545 North to get by the damaged section.

[Map of official M-94 Detour courtesy MDOT]

MDOT and county road officials are working on establishing an official truck detour route as well. The Marquette County Road Commission closed Johnson Road (County Road TJ) at its crossing with the east branch of the Chocolay River in West Branch Township and Yalmer Road (County Road OA) just west of it intersection with Dalton Road (County Road OX) in Skandia Township until further notice.