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Feds giving $25 million to repair roads, bridges damaged in May floods

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan is getting millions of dollars from the federal government to repair roads damaged in the May floods.

The 500-year flood event damaged forced more than 10,000 people to evacuate their homes in Gladwin, Midland and Saginaw counties. Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged. The flood waters also washed away roads and bridges.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) and Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland) say the federal Emergency Relief Program is making a $25 million grant to help pay for repair and reconstruction of federal highways, roads and bridges damaged by the Edenville dam failure.

“This funding from the federal government will help rebuild the roads and bridges damaged by the May flooding and make it easier for residents to visit their neighbors and local businesses. It also means a lot to the state, and local communities, because the costs of this disaster have exceeded the resources they have,” says Rep. Moolenaar.

In June 2020, Kildee and Moolenaar led a bipartisan letter from Michigan’s congressional delegation in urging President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster in Midland, Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco and Saginaw. The president approved the disaster declaration in July. 

The flood caused hundreds of millions of dollars to public infrastructure and private homes and businesses.  

Kildee says this federal grant will help repair roads and bridges across mid-Michigan.

“This investment is critical to restoring Michigan’s infrastructure to what it was before the emergency. I will continue to work to bring federal resources back to the state,” says Rep. Kildee.

A state transportation spokeswoman described the grant as a “first phase” in funding.

The state is estimating it will eventually cost around $100 million to repair the damage.

MDOT spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall says the agency is reviewing the damage to more than 120 locations. 

Two weeks ago, MDOT reopened M-30 over the Tittabawassee River in Edenville after months of repairing extensive damage caused by the failure of the Edenville Dam.

The failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams after days of heavy rain is currently under investigation.   The company that owns the dams filed for bankruptcy protection after numerous lawsuits were filed seeking financial damages. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.