Sinkholes, flash flooding, debris rampant after storms

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CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. – Rushing water, sinkholes, and debris have taken over at least 60 roadways in Calhoun County after flash-flooding Monday night.

Many roads are destroyed, underwater, or have lost massive pieces of asphalt to rushing water. Calhoun County Road Commission Managing Director Christopher Bolt said some parts of the county had five inches of rain in about an hour Monday night. That rainfall coupled with earlier weeks of rain, and Bolt said the ground was too saturated to absorb that amount of water.

As of Tuesday evening, three areas are shut down: Old Bellevue Road near 12 Mile Road, 12 ½ Mile Road near Lynch Road, and Clear Lake Road near Burrows Road. Bolt told FOX 17 News at least 60 crews are working throughout the county, but repair of the older, overflown culverts takes time.

Bolt reminds drivers it is imperative to not drive or walk through any standing water to avoid the gaping sinkholes or debris that may be underneath.

“It’s very important to tell motorists to when they see standing water in roads to turn around, do not drive through that, because you will incur these types of situations where the road surface is not there,” said Bolt.

“We even had some motorists out there walking to see if they could drive through, but you may not find the hole and if you were to walk into a hole like this, you could get injured and not be able to get out.”

Calhoun County Homeowner Kenneth Barlond said he built his home and has lived there 45 years; he has seen flooding like this just a handful of times. Most of his property, up to his fence, was underwater Tuesday afternoon. Barlond said a major issue are uneven culverts, several of which drain onto his land.

“They’ve got a culvert that drains water onto this property,” said Barlond. “At the end of the Smith Road, which is W Drive, they’ve got culverts that drain water onto this property. Then to the north they’ve got water that comes across onto this property, but [the county says] it’s not a county drain.”

As crews work throughout the county, Bolt said if anyone sees a damaged areas without any barricades, report it to the Calhoun County Road Commission at (269) 781-9841.

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