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Kalamazoo County lifts road out of pond

Ionia County Road Commission shuts down Maple River Bridge due to rising water
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 11:56:05-05

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Normally to get to grandma’s house you go over the river and through the woods, but for the past year in Kalamazoo, it’s been under the pond and through the flood.

Kalamazoo’s 8th Street in Oshtemo Township had been underwater since July 14, 2019 due to flooding from a nearby pond, according to a news release Tuesday.

Last September, the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County deployed an aggregate “lift” to solve the problem.

The road is nestled between two hills in a valley-like area, giving the pond no outlet.

Without an outlet, traditional ways to fix the road flooding weren’t an option.

An engineering firm estimated that a fix would cost the Road Commission $1.8 million for the 500-feet stretch of road.

The first step to the solution was ensuring the road would have two adequate culverts installed: an equalizer for the water and a “critter crossing” for wildlife.

The Road Commission then used multiple layers of guardrail on either side of the road along with multiple layers of geotextile fabric inside the pavement to keep the materials intact.

In order to reach their desired elevation, the Road Commission added aggregate, which was reinforced with cables running from either side of the road.

Finally, the Road Commission added about four inches of hot mix asphalt and finished the project with riprap on the shoulders and fresh pavement markings.

The road is now three feet higher and well above water levels.

By using aggregate lifts, the Road Commission saved taxpayers $1.6 million.