Emergency construction starts for severe erosion near I-94 in Roseville

Myesha Johnson
The Detroit News

Roseville — Emergency construction began Tuesday to repair severe erosion along Interstate 94 due to concern of endangering highway travelers

Macomb County officials announced Tuesday the kickstart of the project that is expected to take at least three weeks to fix.

Macomb County Public Works Administrator Candice Miller points to the area where a contractor will straighten the eroding east bank near I-94 as rushing water has caused the drain to erode in Roseville on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.  Thousands of boulders will  be placed to armor the section against rushing water.

The Rohrbeck Extension Drain stretches behind Famous Dave's BBQ restaurant and Extended Stay America hotel and is adjacent to I-94, where 6 feet of erosion has occurred in the last two weeks.

The press conference on Tuesday included Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, Macomb County Commissioner Harold Haugh and Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor along with construction workers.

Erosion can be seen on the banks of the Rohrbeck Extension Drain near I-94 in Roseville, August 8, 2022.

"I have lived here my whole life and so has Mr. Haugh and we wouldn't even know this is here until our inspectors came through," Taylor said. "Obviously, this didn't happen over night, this has been happening over time but... it seems like it's been eroding faster, it's fast enough where we need attention put on it right away."

Construction is underway to stabilize, restore and protect the banks of the open channel drain from continuous erosion.

"It's amazing what you can find when you inspect," Miller said. "We now have a regular inspection program for all of our assets... and we've been finding things like crazy." 

The plan is for L.J. Construction to straighten the drain and redirect water flow through excavation of the west bank, costing approximately $200,000. Dirt and boulders, known as riprap, will be placed on the eroding east bank to restore it and armor the bank from rushing water during intense and heavy water flow amid substantial rain events.

Essentially, when water hits the bank, the boulders will deflect the water subduing erosion, Miller said.

Macomb County Commissioner Harold Haugh, from left, Macomb County Public Works Administrator Candice Miller, and Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor speak about work to straighten the eroding east bank near I-94 as rushing water has caused the drain to erode in Roseville on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.  Thousands of boulders will  be placed to armor the section against rushing water.

Miller has been in contact with the Michigan Department of Transportation for assistance, but it has yet to detail how it will help.

"We're going to fix it; we're not letting this go," Miller said.

After completing its work at that location, the construction will move to the second location with severe erosion: behind the Red Roof Inn on Little Mack between 13 Mile and Masonic Boulevard.

According to a release from Macomb's Public Works Department, the erosion has accelerated, up to 6 feet in some spots, creating the emergency situation. In both locations, it has inched close to the I-94 right-of-way, and approximately 25 yards from the westbound lanes of the interstate.