The intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Masonic Boulevard is closed due to construction and foot traffic is diverted to the north side of the intersection, where a ramp gives access to the sidewalk.

The intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Masonic Boulevard is closed due to construction and foot traffic is diverted to the north side of the intersection, where a ramp gives access to the sidewalk.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Construction rerouting drainage to dry Jefferson/Masonic intersection in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 21, 2020

 The work is rerouting drainage to the north to alleviate flooding on the roadway.

The work is rerouting drainage to the north to alleviate flooding on the roadway.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Vehicles may only drive southbound on Jefferson Avenue through the intersection.

Vehicles may only drive southbound on Jefferson Avenue through the intersection.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — A longtime problem is being solved with reconstruction at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Masonic Boulevard.

Brick pavers delineating the crosswalks in the intersection have been popping up for years, but high water levels on Lake St. Clair have exacerbated problems with the entire intersection, with flooding causing one or more lanes to close for periods of time beginning in 2019.

“It’s been a long problem, not just with water there, but with the bricks,” said Mayor Kip Walby.

Community Development and Inspection Director Chris Rayes said the problem is the Hetchler Drain, which runs under Masonic Boulevard but is only about 18 inches below the pavement.

“The way that the structure is tapped for drainage, when the lake comes up, there’s really no good way for us to stop the water from the lake,” he told City Council Aug. 17. “That’s why most of this summer you’ve seen lanes closed there and the pavers coming out of the pavement, cause they’re just floating out in the water.”

City Council voted that night to add the Jefferson and Masonic intersection drainage and pavement improvement project to the city’s 2020-21 major streets budget, in the amount of $300,000, after it was determined that the project could not be put off any longer.

“Because we are working on this right now, we wanted to get it in the budget,” said Finance Director Laura Stowell, “so at the end of the first quarter we’re not showing a huge deficit.”

Rayes said the work is rerouting drainage to the north and making a new connection that is not direct to the drain so it can be blocked off and “actually bypass pump it without having water on the roadway.”

“We’re taking the pavement out, putting some new underground drainage in, so we can keep those structures dry, and we’ll have the one manhole on top of the drain structure for access,” he said.

If Lake St. Clair rises another six inches, however, the area may experience water over the road again, he warned, “but that may be something we have to look at at a different time to get a different solution for that.”

The intersection will include colored concrete in the walkway instead of brick pavers. Walby said that is what is being done anytime an intersection is replaced that included the brick pavers.

“When we pull bricks up, from now on, we’re pouring cement and, yes, we’re using the color to have a little theme there,” he said.

A motion by Councilman John Caron and supported by Councilman Ron Frederick to amend the budget to include the work passed 6-0.

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