After dam failures to the north, $10 million project to maintain Misteguay Creek under way

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - The Edenville and Sanford dam failures in 2020 were an example of what could happen when historic rain meets poorly maintained infrastructure.

A water drain project wrapping up along Misteguay Creek affects people in Saginaw, Genesee and Shiawassee counties. It was a long, bitter fight to get the work done and the disaster to the north serves as a reminder on why it was so important.

“I don’t know that all sides are happy, but I think you get to the point where people are content,” said Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner Brian Wendling.

Heavy machinery and workers continue to work on enhancing dykes along the Misteguay Creek in southern Saginaw County. It’s hot out, but not as hot as some of the meetings on how the project was going to be done and who was going to pay for it.

Ten years ago, the work to repair the drainage system along the creek’s 23 miles was supposed to begin. Erosion was taking its toll and the three dams along the creek needed repairs. The work finally began last year.

“It actually cost the taxpayers nearly $10 million because of all the litigation and everything, engineering, false starts,” said Albee Township Supervisor Leon Turnwald.

He said the dam failures and resulting floods Midland and Gladwin counties proved why this project was so important.

“It just started affecting us,” Turnwald said. “Had the rains came in a different location, had it come a little father south, maybe we would have been the people having those problems.”

Wendling said the drain project had to be done despite the contentious process of getting to this point.

“Area prone to flooding and there is some of the more fertile farm ground in the state, if not the nation, right where we stand,” he said.

Contractors expect to complete the project later this summer or early in the fall.

“Everything came together. Government worked,” Turnwald said. “It took longer than it should have, but it worked and we are just grateful.”

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