SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Saugatuck Township is blaming a massive sinkhole that shut down a road on severe erosion.
Township leaders say they first began receiving reports of erosion damage along Lakeshore Drive in the fall. Shortly thereafter, a sinkhole started to form in front of homes, forcing the Allegan County Road Commission to shut down portions of the street. Since then, the township says, the problem has gotten progressively worse.
“It has grown almost daily and now it’s about 10 foot across,” Saugatuck Township Manager Griffin Graham said.
The township has been working with its community partners to monitor the damage daily. Leaders say the closed portion of Lakeshore Drive is leaving about 12 homeowners with little to no access to their houses.
“Without a doubt, there are residents who are being inconvenienced by parts of the road being closed but as the township, safety is our top priority,” Graham said.
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The township and the county road commission are considering moving the roadway back or creating temporary access roads behind the homes. Both plans would require permission and cooperation from homeowners and would likely be costly.
“We would expect that in the long term, for as long as we’re expecting these water levels to stay high, more segments of Lakeshore Drive are going to be impacted. So not only are we looking for a long-term solution, we’re looking for a solution that can benefit more than the segment we’re dealing with now at this point,” Graham said.
In the meantime, officials are asking people who do not live in the affected area to avoid it if they can, as the bluff and roadway are considered unsafe. The township plans to continue discussing options at upcoming meetings.