Standing along 15 Mile Road last month as we prepared to cut the ribbon to officially re-open the road after our $75 million repair job, I was struck by the fact that just a year earlier, no one knew we would have such a massive problem on our hands.
The sinkhole that shut down the road developed when an 11-foot diameter sewer interceptor pipe collapsed under 15 Mile Road in Fraser. That it happened on Christmas Eve only added misery to the situation.
While we are in the process of engaging a national firm to determine exactly what caused that collapse, there is one fact that is undisputed: the sewer interceptor under 15 Mile was installed in 1970 with a life expectancy of about 50 to 60 years. In 2018, that sewer line turns 48 years old. Across metro Detroit, many water and sewer lines are approaching 100 years old.
We have arrived at what should be a transformational moment for governments. It is time that we change how we construct and maintain the infrastructure that allows us not only to have the quality of life that we all seek, but allows the economy of a community to thrive.