Solutions are being worked on by the Michigan Department of Transportation to address the lake of water over the Main Street/I-94 Business Loop in Benton Harbor. Spokesman Nick Schirripa says it’s due to record-high water levels on Lake Michigan that are pushing rivers, streams, and groundwater higher.
“There’s not a lot we can do about water levels, as it is what is it,” says Schirripa. “We’ve got a fix in mind and we’re currently attempting to execute that, which is essentially draining and blocking those storm drains.
He says that leaves an issue of where would the water drain.
“We have to find a new storm drain to either tap in to, or create. It’s, no pun intended, kind of a fluid situation and we’re really trying to figure out what the best answer is, not just for our stretch of road and not just for now, but this may happen again someday and we’d like to be ready for it,” adds Schirripa.
He says raising the elevation of the road has been discussed, but is not a viable solution right now. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is projecting Lake Michigan to begin to recede in August, which should start to help with the flooding issue.
The problem isn’t unique to Benton Harbor. As far inland as Grand Rapids, basements have been flooding in record numbers because of high groundwater caused by the high levels of Lake Michigan this summer.