Area getting back to normal after flooding

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:46 am on Friday, April 26, 2013

A week after massive flooding throughout Montcalm County, things are starting to get back to normal and roads are being reopened.

“We are in pretty good shape,” said Mark Christensen, managing director of the Road Commission for Montcalm County. “It was a challenging week.”

One week ago, the area received constant rain, flooding yards, walkways and roads.

Sixteen roads throughout Montcalm County were closed as culverts were failing and gravel roads were washing out.

Christensen said he and his crew have been out this week doing repairs and trying to get the roads reopened as soon as possible. Currently, there are three roads closed throughout the county — Lake Montcalm Road between Bailey and Arbogast, Fitzner Road between Peck and Fuller and Johnson/Satterlee Road in Cato Township.

“Things are getting better as the water is drying up,” said Christensen, noting warmer weather will help.

Christensen said the Carson City area was hardest hit in Montcalm County. Culverts failed and will have to be repaired.

“It seemed they had a lot more rain in that area compared to others,” Christensen said.

Throughout the rest of the county, the Road Commission is working on minor projects such as fixing gravel roads, and doing seal coats and more.

Local flooding was also a topic during the Greater Greenville Transportation committee meeting on Wednesday at Courtland Township Hall.

Erick Kind, MDOT manager of TSC Grand Rapids Region, said he has been following the hydrology the past week in Montcalm, Ionia and Kent counties.

“I have been dialed in on Ionia to west of Grand Rapids,” he said, noting he found interesting facts among the area concerning flooding.

Throughout the years, Kind said Ionia to Grand Rapids has not been consistent when it comes to sharing the same calendar year for water-level highs. But this year “standardized” everyones water level, putting it in the record books for the highest water levels from Ionia to Grand Rapids.

“Either April 21 or 22 — depending on the crest — holds the new high-water mark (for the area),” Kind said.

As for drains in Montcalm County, they have been handling the flooding pretty well.

Montcalm County Drain Commissioner Sandra Raines said her office has been very busy and putting in long days because of the flooding.

“The drains were bank to bank in a lot of areas, but they are starting to recede in most areas,” she said. “We found need for maintenance in a few areas, but overall the drains were flowing.”

With the rain and flooding, Raines said they have also been monitoring several high lake levels in the county, but those levels are starting to go back down.

Overall, there was about 9.16 inches of rain in the Crystal area in about two weeks.

“That’s where we were hit the hardest and also where we have the heaviest concentration of county drains,” Raines said.

Overall, the county is waiting is waiting for things to continue to dry up.

“The ground is still very saturated and it will take time to dry out, which has set us back on the beginning of our construction season,” Raines said.

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