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Newaygo bridge closes due to ice jam, rising river levels

Posted at 9:46 AM, Jan 31, 2019

NEWAYGO, Mich. - The Bridge Street Bridge in Newaygo is closed because of an ice jam and rising water along the Muskegon River.

Newaygo County Emergency Services sent out the message Thursday morning that travelers should use an alternate route.

Newaygo City Parks River Front Park Phase 1 and Phase 2 are also now closed due to the high water.

River levels can fluctuate rapidly due to a 17-mile jam of jumbled ice on the Muskegon River, which stretches from the upstream and downstream of the Warner Bridge and the Bridgeton Township Boat Launch to the City of Newaygo.  River levels at Newaygo are now above flood stage at 14.5 feet. River levels at Bridgeton remain at just over 13 feet. Both locations have seen the river rise about six to seven feet since the ice jam formed.

The river will continue freezing through Friday, but is expected to thaw quickly over the weekend with temperatures in 40s and rain in the forecast. Those living near the river should keep aware of the levels and be prepared to move to higher ground if necessary.

According to Andy Dixon, a Hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, a lot of area rivers are frozen now coming out of this deep freeze and if we raise water levels enough, the ice can eventually break from the water flowing under it, forcing it downstream and creating the possibility and risk of ice jams.

A Flood Warning is in effect and will remain in effect until river levels begin to fall. The National Weather Service and the Newaygo County Emergency Management office are both hopeful that no significant impacts will come from this ice jam over the coming days.