The Macomb County Public Works  Office has begun emergency repairs on a sinkhole that appeared in front of Eastpointe Middle School Aug. 27.  Officials said it will not affect classes.

The Macomb County Public Works Office has begun emergency repairs on a sinkhole that appeared in front of Eastpointe Middle School Aug. 27. Officials said it will not affect classes.

Photo provided by Dan Heaton


County officials address sinkhole in front of Eastpointe Middle School

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 29, 2019

 Eastpointe city employees noticed a potential problem underneath a sidewalk outside Eastpointe Middle School and alerted the Macomb County Public Works Office. The county investigated and discovered a sinkhole requiring immediate attention underneath the area.

Eastpointe city employees noticed a potential problem underneath a sidewalk outside Eastpointe Middle School and alerted the Macomb County Public Works Office. The county investigated and discovered a sinkhole requiring immediate attention underneath the area.

Photo provided by Dan Heaton

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EASTPOINTE — The Macomb County Public Works Office has begun emergency repairs on a sinkhole discovered underneath a sidewalk outside Eastpointe Middle School.

County officials said a void approximately 8 feet deep formed under a stretch of sidewalk near a manhole on the Stephens Relief Drain, which is a large drain that services Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores.

“We’re still looking into it, but generally what happens is a pipe gets a crack in it and water from the ground gets into the crack. When that happens, it brings a little bit of sand or soil with it. Over time, it builds up and creates a void in the ground around the pipe and the ground above will collapse down into it,” explained Dan Heaton, the communications manager for the Macomb County Public Works Office.

Teams began work on the issue Aug. 27 shortly after the problem was discovered. Heaton said no roadways were impacted by the work and they do not expect any interruption of public services as a result of the work. Repairs were expected to be completed by Aug. 30, after press time.

Eastpointe Community Schools Superintendent Ryan McLeod said the sinkhole was discovered by city workers as they were preparing to install some traffic signs.

“The city (Eastpointe’s Department of Public of Works) was out doing some surveying to put in some signage, and they realized that the sidewalk had a drop that had not been there previously, and it drew their attention to investigate,” he said. “They reached out to us and the county because it’s a county drain issue.”

McLeod said the work had been properly cordoned off and the work would not affect students or staff at the school.

“We had school start (on Aug. 27), and it will have no impact on the school at all,” he said. “We will work with the city and county how to minimize the impact on student learning as repairs continue.”

Another sinkhole in Fraser was discovered the same day on Kingston Street, a residential street south of 14 Mile Road and west of Utica Road. It also was undergoing repairs by the Macomb County Public Works Office, as it oversees both pipes. The county expects repairs for each to cost between $20,000 and $25,000.

Heaton stressed the need for preventative measures to stop small problems from becoming more involved issues.

“Preventative maintenance costs far less than having to fix things in a hurry like this,” he said. “We, in this case, have to dig out a hole, fill in the crack and replace the soil. If it was preventative, all we would have to do was go down through the manhole and fill in the crack. Commissioner (Candice) Miller has been in her position for 2 1/2 years. We’ve conducted inspections on several dozen major storm drains in that time and have been working to take exactly that kind of preventative action. The problem is we have approximately 475 storm drains, so it just takes a long while to go through them all.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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