Feds Reimburse Michigan $50 Million for Emergency Road and Bridge Repairs

by Scott McClallen


The Federal Highway Administration has awarded Michigan $50 million to reimburse emergency road and bridge repairs after heavy rain and dam failures in 2020 caused widespread flooding in mid-Michigan.

The deluge caused more than 10,000 people to evacuate from 3,500 homes, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency. Whitmer welcomed the reimbursement.

“This grant will bring federal taxpayer dollars back to Michigan and help us continue to fix the damn roads and bridges,” Whitmer said in a statement. “In 2020, after historic flooding and dam failures, we took action to fix impacted roads and bridges, and I am grateful that Michigan is getting that money back. Since I took office through the end of this year, we will fix 16,000 lane miles of road and 1,200 bridges, and we need to maximize every dollar we have to invest in our infrastructure and make it easier for families and businesses to get around our state.”

The failure of the Edenville and Sanford dam in May 2020 damaged nearly 30 roads and bridges in Mid-Michigan. Three bridges within two miles were washed away in Midland and Gladwin counties, and U.S. Highway 10 at Sanford Lake was also damaged.

Over two years, MDOT has worked with FHWA, the Midland County Road Commission, and the village of Sanford to restore mobility across Midland and Gladwin counties.

The repairs include:

U.S. Highway 10 at Sanford Lake in Midland County

The Eastbound U.S. Highway 10 bridge reopened on June 4, and traffic was restored by the first week of July, about five weeks post flood.

State Route 30 over the Tittabawassee River

The bridge reopened in September after two contracts for debris removal ($1.4 million) and bridge repair ($1.2 million) for this bridge and the state Route 30 over the Tobacco River.


A damaged State Route 30 bridge over the Tittabawassee River Photo courtesy of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office


The repaired State Route 30 bridge over the Tittabawassee River. Photo courtesy of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office

Curtis Road over the Tittabawassee River

Rushing waters removed about 600 feet of roadway for the bridge under the jurisdiction of the Midland County Road Commission. The $1.2 million contract was completed in November.

Saginaw Road Bridge in the Village of Sanford

Flood waters destroyed the Saginaw Road Bridge in the Village of Sanford, and MDOT managed the bridge replacement. The Saginaw Road bridge reopened to traffic on Oct. 23.

State Route 30 Causeway Bridge over the Tobacco River

The flood thoroughly washed away the state Route 30 Causeway Bridge over the Tobacco River. The bridge washout left area residents stranded, damaged businesses, and impacted local utilities for months. The Michigan Department of Transportation  moved forward with constructing a temporary bridge to replace the former causeway bridge, which helped speed construction.

Michigan received nearly 10% of the $513 million awarded under the Emergency Relief Program.

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Dam Break Along the Tittabawassee River in Sanford” by Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.




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