Roadways Along Lake Michigan Crumble Into High Waters

By Taylor Wizner.

A road collapses into the water in Oceana County. A riverwalk disappears into the Manistee river channel. Lakeshore sidewalks buckle in Ludington.

Erosion caused by high water levels is plaguing several communities in northern Michigan.

In the last two years, the city of Manistee has dealt with $2.5 million worth of damage to public infrastructure caused by high water levels.

City Manager Thad Taylor says in the last few weeks, high winds and the resulting waves destabilized land along the river channel. “Within the last two weeks we’ve had another section of river walk, approximately 300 feet, that was taken down by high waves as well as the results of shoreline erosion,” he says.

The river channel connects Lake Michigan to Manistee Lake.

Taylor says significant erosion has also compromised a city parking area that overlooks the channel.

He met with the city’s insurance adjustor last week to see what they could do to fix the damage.

“It’s a constant battle (to protect public structures) and as we always say Mother Nature’s going to win,” Taylor says.