Several dozen residents in a Hamburg Township subdivision say a six-foot deep sinkhole on Shadow Woods Lane is just the latest in a series of problems with the neighborhood’s two roads, problems that local officials are not addressing adequately.
And although the sinkhole has been temporarily fixed, both Shadow Woods Lane and Terrace View Drive are riddled with potholes, and county and local officials are saying a tax assessment on residents is likely the only way residents would see the roads repaved anytime soon.
“It looks like a war zone here with all the potholes, and there is already a big hole starting in front of the sinkhole,” said Laura Sandel, who lives on the 11000 block of Shadow Woods Lane, one house down from where a drain under the road failed and caused the road to collapse in March.
The neighborhood’s two roads are in poor shape, covered in deep potholes, and difficult to drive on.
On March 1, Brendon Robinson was riding his skateboard when he discovered a sinkhole in the road, his mother Joanna Robinson said.
“With as bad as our roads are, I just assumed he was exaggerating,” she said. “He says, ‘Listen, I put my penny board in it and it disappeared.'”
Road commission workers filled the hole with limestone, the same day the teen discovered it, as a temporary fix.
“That night it rained and the whole road collapsed,” Sandel said.
She said the sinkhole had grown to six feet deep, “and it was all the way across the entire road.”
Within a couple of days, road commission workers replaced a failed metal drain under the road, which had corroded, and filled the road back in with stone. Workers will be back out sometime this spring to put down hot-mix asphalt over where the sinkhole was, said Mike Craine, managing director of the Livingston County Road Commission.
Township Supervisor Pat Hohl said property owners on secondary public roads in the township will likely have to pay special assessment taxes if they want their roads fixed soon. Township officials are expected to discuss how to spend a little less than $1 million a year raised by a new township road millage at the township Board of Trustees regular meeting at 2:30 p.m. May 2.
Hohl said fixing primary roads is the priority for the money, but the township might consider using some road millage money on secondary public roads. He made no promises.
“It would have to be after we get the primary roads fixed,” he said.
Putting together “one large special assessment district” to fix subdivision roads “in a few neighborhoods,” is something to consider, he said.
Road officials estimated the cost of repaving the two roads, which combined cover about nine-tenths of a mile, at $300,000.
If property owners on Shadow Woods Lane and Terrace View Drive decide to pay for it themselves by creating a special tax district, it would cost each of them an estimated $8,500 to $9,000 over the course of 10 years.
Township officials will hold an informational public meeting to discuss options for the roads at 7 p.m. May 1 in the boardroom at 10405 Merrill Road, Whitmore Lake.
‘Kids can’t even play out here’
Sandel said her 2-year-old granddaughter got stuck in a pothole that was filled with water once.
“Kids can’t even play out here,” she said.
“Somebody’s going to get hurt with all these chuck holes, either stepping in it, riding a bike or falling and breaking something,” said Dennis Peters, who lives a few houses down from where the sinkhole formed.
“I’ve hurt my wrist just by the steering wheel snapping in my hand … even at idle speed with my foot on the break,” he said.
“We had a hole out in front of our driveway, so we went out and bought 60 pounds of Quikrete concrete mix. …The asphalt they put down does nothing. It rains and washes down the road. It’s an absolute joke,” Judy Peters, Dennis’ wife, said.
Sandel said she worries about being able to sell her home.
“Everyone says, there’s no money (for public roads in subdivisions), but then other things get done. Why not us?” Shadow Woods Lane resident Bob Andrews said.