Public works officials spotted and barricaded a sinkhole in front of Eastpointe Middle School, just in time to prevent any students getting near it.
That 8-foot-deep void is one of two new sinkholes in Macomb County that required emergency repairs recently.
Miller said the new sinkholes added to the costly repair for the notoriously big one in Fraser that opened up on Christmas Eve of 2016 and gave dramatic evidence that more must be spent on the region’s aging sewer systems.
The Eastpointe sinkhole was discovered late last week under a stretch of sidewalk in front of the school on Kelly Road, according to the office of Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller. The sidewalk was blocked off and an engineering team has been at the site, Miller said Tuesday in a news release.
The sinkhole is near a manhole on a branch sewer pipe of the Stephens Relief Drain, a large east-west storm drain that runs under Stephens Road and that serves Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores before emptying into Lake St. Clair.
About 10 miles away in Fraser, an 8-foot-diameter sinkhole opened up on Kingston Street in a residential neighborhood south of 14 Mile Road and west of Utica Road. The hole is over the Priest Drain storm sewer, leading officials to believe there may be a crack in the drain. Part of Kingston Street is closed during the repair.
“Our underground infrastructure is aging in place. This is why we are actively working to inspect it and to work on preventative maintenance,” she said.
In Eastpointe and Fraser, local public works crews helped county workers to pinpoint the problems, Miller said, adding: “We are particularly thankful that the sinkhole near the Eastpointe Middle School was identified before the first day of school so no students were injured.”
A spokeswoman for Eastpointe Community Schools said the sinkhole did not interfere with the half-day of school on Tuesday and would not bother students on Wednesday’s first full day of the school year.
The new sinkholes are not related and each repair should take about two weeks, said Dan Heaton, communications manager for the Macomb County Public Works Office. The combined cost, to be paid from separate funds tied to each of the drain systems involved, is expected to be less than $50,000, officials said.
Photo courtesy of Macomb County Public Works Office.