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Macomb County

Contact: Norb Franz
Communications Manager, Macomb County Public Works Office

Phone: 586-201-5732



August 8, 2022

Erosion creeping close to I-94 in Macomb County


Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller assesses the erosion of the steep east bank of the Rohrbeck Extension Drain near 13 Mile and Little Mack in Roseville. Just beyond the top of the bank is westbound Interstate 94.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller and Environmental Resources Manager Jeff Bednar discuss erosion at the Rohrbeck Extension Drain in Roseville, near Interstate 94.




County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller orders emergency stabilization of drain banks

Macomb County is taking emergency action to stop severe erosion near Interstate 94 in Roseville from getting perilously closer to the freeway, county Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller announced Monday.

Public Works officials say the continuing erosion of steep banks in the Rohrbeck Extension Drain – near 13 Mile Road and Little Mack – is the worst they have ever seen in any drain under the county’s jurisdiction.

“This is an emergency,” Miller said. “Even though we’ve had drought conditions, we’ve seen these banks erode approximately 6 feet in some spots just in the past few months. We’re concerned that very heavy rains could accelerate that erosion.”

Two locations are creating the most concern:

*The bank located just east of Little Mack, approximately one-quarter mile north of 13 Mile Road, and only about 20 yards from the right shoulder of westbound I-94.

*The bank located south of 13 Mile Road, west of Little Mack, approximately 25 yards from the right shoulder of westbound I-94.

It’s difficult to predict when continued erosion would reach the right shoulder of I-94 or potentially result in a collapse of the shoulder -- or actual lanes -- if the erosion is not addressed.

“That’s a scenario we’re not going to wait for. We need to fix it, quick,” Miller said. “A collapse of the freeway would cost millions of dollars to repair, let alone the huge disruption it would cause for commuters and the flow of commerce.”

Public Works officials have contacted a qualified contractor on an emergency basis to stabilize the eroding east banks, which are approximately 10 feet tall in some spots. That stabilization will involve the use of dirt excavated from the opposite side of the channel, reshaping drain slopes and armoring the east banks by placing hundreds of boulders that will absorb the energy from strong water flow to prevent new erosion. Work may begin as soon as this week.

Compared to hundreds of other open drains in the county, erosion can occur more easily in parts of the Rohrbeck Extension Drain because the initial construction of the freeway involved excavation of what had been undisturbed land, and sand that was used to build the embankment of the freeway erodes more quickly in steep areas once it begins.

According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, westbound I-94 in that area has average daily traffic of 43,700 vehicles.

The Rohrbeck Extension Drain drains the storm water from an approximately 3.7-square-mile area of Roseville.



21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI, 48036