Crews Working To Repair Sewer Line Damage From Elizabeth Lake Road Sinkhole

WWJ News
July 02, 2020 - 5:51 pm
Elizabeth Lake Road repairs

Photo: Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office

(WWJ) It's a problem that could affect tens of thousand of homeowners in Oakland County. 

Crews were at work Thursday trying to keep a 54-inch-diameter sewer pipe beneath Elizabeth Lake Road near M-59 in Waterford Township from breaking, after a sinkhole opened up at the site three weeks ago.

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Officials say crews from the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s (WRC) Office are working around the clock to ensure that the sinkhole doesn't interrupt service to the more than 60,000 customers who rely on the major sewer pipe that runs 35 feet beneath the thoroughfare.

A WRC employee discovered the sinkhole and the agency immediately launched efforts on June 10 to determine the extent of damage to the sewer pipe, officials said.

Some 25,100 vehicles per day travel on Elizabeth Lake Road, which is expected to be closed in both directions from Cass Lake Road to M-59 and will remain closed until mid-summer.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is helping to resolve any traffic backups while the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) is implementing appropriate traffic light timing. WRC and RCOC crews are working with contractors to make repairs to the damaged area. The repair process is complicated due to the size of the pipe and its proximity to a Waterford Township water main that must be protected during the process.

“With the help of our contractor, RedZone Robotics, we conducted profiling research using sonar and lasers to see inside the pipe,” said Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash. “This investigation showed that a joint was separated, allowing a foot of soil to enter the pipe. We also discovered four joints that were leaking.”

WRC crews have created a bypass that will allow the pipe to dry so they will have a clearer view of the problem and enable the pipe to be cleaned to assess the extent of the damage.

Officials said cost of the repair and emergency response are yet to be determined.

Businesses in the area have been notified about the work.