Workers recently dug a shaft around 60 feet deep to  gain access to a sewer along 15 Mile Road by the ITC Corridor,  west of Schoenherr Road, in Sterling Heights.

Workers recently dug a shaft around 60 feet deep to gain access to a sewer along 15 Mile Road by the ITC Corridor, west of Schoenherr Road, in Sterling Heights.

Photo provided by the Macomb County Office of Public Works


Macomb County gives progress report on interceptor project

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published June 30, 2021

 Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, left, talks to Construction and Maintenance Manager Stephen Downing about the Macomb Interceptor project.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, left, talks to Construction and Maintenance Manager Stephen Downing about the Macomb Interceptor project.

Photo provided by the Macomb County Office of Public Works

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MACOMB COUNTY — More work on part of a 15 Mile Road sewer interceptor is in the pipeline, but county officials are pleased with progress and say it will eventually help prevent sinkholes or other disasters from occurring in the Sterling Heights area.

The Macomb County Public Works Office announced June 14 that it had recently managed to wrap up a key portion of a $28 million project. That work involved, since last fall, digging an estimated 60-foot-deep shaft to do sewer work near 15 Mile Road and the ITC Corridor, west of Schoenherr Road, in Sterling Heights, the office said.

The work site falls within the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District’s Segment 5. Sterling Heights is one of the MIDDD’s 11 members, along with Fraser and Utica, and Clinton, Macomb and Shelby townships.

“They basically dug deeper and deeper and deeper down, reached the top of the interceptor and cut slices of that open with very heavy equipment,” Public Works Office spokesman Norb Franz said. “What they’re doing now is cleaning out sediment in that section of the pipe.”

Now that workers have access to the interceptor sewer pipe, they can clean out junk and sediment that has built up over a decade or more, officials said. According to the county, over 2 feet of debris had built up in spots within the pipe, which in that section has a diameter of 11 feet.

What hasn’t been done yet, the county said, is installing a covering of “impervious polymer pipe” upon an estimated 7,000 feet of concrete spanning the interceptor from the ITC Corridor to Fontana Drive, which is west of Hayes Road.

Franz said work crews will also eventually spray a “geo-polymer coating” in 1,300 lineal feet of pipe further east, around the area of Hayes Road, heading toward Fraser’s Eberlein Drive. Officials expect the Segment 5 work to wrap up by mid-2022.

Franz said the 15 Mile Road work has had minimal impact on the surrounding area so far, though as workers progress, he anticipates an eventual lane closure on eastbound 15 Mile at a yet-to-be-determined time.

“Thus far, there’s been no traffic (issues),” he said. “I don’t think noise has been a problem. … You could easily drive by and not even know what’s going on by the high school there, but it’s a major construction project.”

In a statement, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said it’s critical to preserve infrastructure that’s underground, especially in this case. She added that maintenance is cheaper and less troublesome than sewer replacement. She also alluded to the interceptor collapse and massive sinkhole that swallowed a part of Fraser by the intersection of 15 Mile Road and Eberlein Drive on Dec. 24, 2016.

“Can you imagine if we have a sinkhole under the ITC Corridor transmission towers, or a sinkhole beneath the Red Run Drain? It would be a disaster,” she said. “When completed, this project will prevent the chances of that happening for many decades to come.”

The county says the Segment 5 project’s funding has come from a $12.5 million lawsuit settlement that an insurance company paid the MIDDD in 2020, $6 million in MIDDD reserve funds, and bond financing. The Public Works Office said the work won’t raise sewer rates.    

Find out more about the Macomb County Public Works Office by visiting publicworks.macomb gov.org.

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