FRASER (WWJ/AP) — A sinkhole is causing catastrophic problems for some residents in Macomb County.
About 20 homes on Eberlein Dr. in Fraser — near 15 Mile Rd. and Hayes Rd. — were evacuated over the Christmas holiday weekend after a massive sinkhole began opening up underneath part of the neighborhood.
A special standing-room-only Fraser City Council meeting was held on Monday morning. Authorities said that the sinkhole arose due to sewer pipe collapse about 45 feet under the ground. Water, sanitary sewer and gas main have all been cut off.
One person working on the sinkhole says it is about 250 feet long by 100 feet wide. Residents were told they will soon be allowed re-entry to their homes, but at least three homes will be condemned.
Meanwhile, a closure of 15 Mile, between Utica and Hayes, will be “several months.” Residents were told repairs could take up to a 10 months, as engineers are concerned the collapse could widen.
The Macomb County Public Works department is now warning residents about possible sewage backups in basements along Garfield from 15 Mile to 18 Mile Rd. Residents in that area are advised to clear their basement floors.
Fraser mayor Joe Nichols has also declared a state of emergency in the city. Special funding is planned to be applied to help address the sinkhole and related costs.
In 2004, a sewer collapse caused a nearby section of 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights to cave in. It created a sinkhole 160 feet long, 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep.
“As I understand it, this area is at the opposite end of the intersection where that 2004 sinkhole occurred,” Consumers Energy spokesperson Debra Dodd told WWJ Newsradio 950 on Saturday. “It’s the same sewer line running underneath there, but I don’t know if the two incidents are related at this time.”
Authorities were alerted to the problem about 6 a.m. Saturday after Sue Albu and her husband heard noises and noticed the frame of their home on Eberlein Drive had shifted. The house also was sinking.
“We were out,” Albu told the Detroit Free Press. “It was just trying to grab what we could to salvage it.”
Some other families were asked to leave their homes on Eberlein. It wasn’t clear Sunday when they would be able to return, Macomb County Public Works field operations manager Alex Pirkovic told the Free Press.
“The whole street of Eberlein is shut off as we work on making sure there are stable conditions,” Pirkovic said.
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