Erity Dam repair closes Evergreen

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 21, 2017


BEVERLY HILLS — The village of Beverly Hills is warning residents to prepare for a road closure on Evergreen Road, between 13 Mile Road and 14 Mile Road.

Repairs are planned in the area to maintain several culverts under the Evergreen bridge beginning Monday, Aug. 21. This project will repair the spillway of the Erity Dam that was damaged in the spring of 2015 from heavy rain. Several residents have voiced concerns since that time, calling for these repairs to take place.

“We had a failure of one of the two dams which control an impoundment after a very heavy rainstorm, which compromised the culverts underneath Evergreen Road,” explained Tom Meszler, Beverly Hills public services director. “There is a detour which is set up involving going on 14 Mile Road to Lahser Road going south, and using Beverly Road to Southfield Road while going north.”

An impoundment is a backup of water like a pond or a swamp. In this case, it is a 27-acre millpond created by a pair of dams that hold water from the Rouge River in a certain area. They were put in place a century ago to power a nearby mill, and the rest of the community grew around this artificial pond. Without the impoundment in place, the natural flow of the river would continue, which could adversely affect the community.

The Erity Dam was constructed in 1913 and consists of two spillways. The left spillway is east of Evergreen Road, and the right spillway — which is the portion that was damaged — sits west of Evergreen Road.

“I think people should understand that this is a project that has been in the works since 2015, when the impoundment failed,” said Assistant Village Manager and Clerk Ellen Marshall. “We are trying to get the work done prior to the school year beginning, when traffic will be higher.”

Village officials had hoped to begin the project earlier in the summer, but Marshall said Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality caused the project start date to get shifted.

“There was a delay in issuing a permit from the MDEQ,” said Marshall. “We don’t know why there was a delay. I just preach patience for people. We know areas of Evergreen were already closed this summer, but this is work that has to be done in order to preserve the impoundment there.”

The current low bid for the project is $381,444.30, by Z Contracting. The cost for the project is being paid for out of the village’s road fund.

Evergreen will be closed to through traffic but will remain open for local traffic. The work is scheduled to be completed by Thursday, Sept. 1.

“It will improve the area as far as citizens in the area are concerned,” remarked Meszler. “It will maintain the water level and viability of the Erity Dam. The work won’t affect anyone, with the exception of a two-week closure of the project while we work on sheeting.”