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Thread: Mid Michigan Flooding and 2 Dam Failures (lots of pics)

  1. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    Yea, lake front never appealed to me, so I live next to a swamp lol. House and main yard area high and dry which is what really counts and the area is nice and quite, no crime to speak of, etc.

    Michigan has a lot of dams, and a sizeable percentage need major work.

    I didn't take any pics, but took a quick drive around to see how things were doing north of me, the road that was washed out from the rain has been temp fixed, the filled the hole in and gravel topped it for now, lot better than driving around the block which is all dirt roads. I saw a crane sticking up above the tree line when driving back, I suspect that's for the M30 bridge, so progress there. Saw a video of Sanford and US10 is being worked on. The main road in Sanford is untouched besides being swept off for the part that isn't washed out. Looks like consumer's ran a temp power line on the side of the road to power the other half of the town

  2. #17
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    ATC King is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    Trying add a little perspective, not derail the thread, but it's a catch 22 with most dams, bridges, and building. At a certain point they're too far gone and too expensive to repair, but also too expensive to remove. They can't just be left to decay and fail either, seeing the aftermath of that.

    In Hagerman, Idaho, there was a bridge given to the county/city, but it's now derelict. Owsley Bridge, which is over the Snake River, a protected river. The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic and in a terrible state of disrepair. The cost to remove it is very expensive, complicated by the fact none of it can be allowed to fall into/pollute the river. The cost to repair it, also prohibitive. It'll rot until it falls into the river.

    Next to Index bridge on Highway 71, over the Red River near Texarkana, is the old truss style railroad bridge. The old bridge used to rotate on a central pillar to allow barge traffic through. That was many moons ago, when that section of the Red was navigable by barge. A new railroad bridge was built right next to it, but the old, rusted, decayed bridge remains.

    I've seen several old steel truss bridges near here disappear. Old one lane bridges that carried traffic from a different era. Many of them I used as a teenager. These were short bridges over narrow creeks and rivers, so fairly easily removed and sold for scrap, some nearly a 100 years after their construction with little maintenance other than new wood decking. Many of them were visible from the new highway for decades, and now most people forgot they were even there.

    The short human lifespan and likewise thought process, keeps burdening subsequent generations without penalty.

    It's impossible to build your way out of a population problem. Build more highways, and more people will fill them. Build more power plants, and people will use more power. The term is included demand. I'm not proposing I know of any one solution to the whole problem, just that it's beneficial to understand these things to help oneself determine where to live, if they want to avoid somewhere with these problems, or identify the places building into these problems in the near future. House by a major roadway in a growing city, bam, Eminent Domain. Guess you'll have to move somewhere else now, how convenient. You're just outside the limits of a growing city, bam, now you've been annexed. The city recently declared your neighborhood as a flood area, after decades of increased concrete and pavement has increased runoff and flooding, bam, increased insurance or no coverage for flood damage. The once nice apartments downtown are now low rent housing, plagued with crime, but you can't afford to live like the mayor, just afford to pay the mayor's salary through taxes.


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  3. #18
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    Owsley bridge is on the list of historic places. Itís 100 years old and build to withstand 20ton engine. The asphalt deck has deteriorated, but has passed ultrasonic test in 2015 or so, on the pins holding it together. I heard it may be turned into part of a bike trail. Iíve never heard anything about it be removed or protected river there, though. Who says that?

  4. #19
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    Midland has quite a few probably 100 year old bridges too, ones that go under water every flood (they flood atleast a little almost every year). Some of the bridges you can see physically needs major work, some of the footings are rusted out badly, yet still open to traffic (single lane bridge). Top is fine and the rest of the bridge appears good, just the footing area seems to be the weak point. No semis can drive over them, so probably partly why it's lower concern, the hump in the bridge is way too much for a semi or a truck with a long trailer. That also reminds me of a bridge in Sanford, same size of bridge but was constructed from concrete. It looked old when I was a kid, never really stopped and looked at the structure of it. There's also an old rail bridge in Sanford that was turned into a walk way bridge.

    On the funds to fix/maintain the dams in the area, there's a lot of houses on the lake with elevated taxes just due to the higher valued property. I don't have exact numbers but I'm pretty sure the properties are 30-100% increased in value because of the lake vs other properties in the area. Add that up for miles of houses and there should be a fair sized chunk of money for the city to push to keeping the dams good (if they owned it). The Dam system here goes across 4 counties, basically 1 county that's effectively rich (for this area of standards atleast), and 3 that are pretty poor (lack of quality/high paying jobs). For them to buy the dams, then repair also defo will be a huge investment, before this all happened it was estimated purchase plus repairs was something like 20-30 mil.

    As for safely disabling a dam, maybe I don't understand them well enough, but atleast for the ones here, the places where they washed out seems to be where they were designed to wash out. Seems like to disable with out the major flood problem, they'd just have to lower the lake as much as possible, and dig out the berm where the fail point normally would be. Still costs money but not as much as removing the whole dam system. Every situation is probably different so maybe that doesn't work for most of them.

  5. #20
    ATC King's Avatar
    ATC King is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jd110 View Post
    Owsley bridge is on the list of historic places. It’s 100 years old and build to withstand 20ton engine. The asphalt deck has deteriorated, but has passed ultrasonic test in 2015 or so, on the pins holding it together. I heard it may be turned into part of a bike trail. I’ve never heard anything about it be removed or protected river there, though. Who says that?

    When I was staying in Hagerman, it was in local news about the financial problem of removing the bridge or renovating it and something about a containment under the bridge if it were to be dismantled. I'll have to find the article.

    I biked across it a lot, as I rode up to the wind farm then hauled rump down, coasting. That was a good workout. I really enjoyed staying in Hagerman and the Thousand Springs area. I biked from there to Boise and back for a extended weekend ride. Rode the mountain bike trails at Boise, with touring bike. Camped a night at the sand dunes on the way back. Biked to the salmon farm and the box valley several times. Idaho is a great state for cycling.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A picture for people who haven't been to Idaho. That state is magical.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Those are mountains in the background, not clouds.
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    Last edited by ATC King; 05-31-2020 at 11:02 PM.
    The story of three wheels and a man...

  6. #21
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    I could imagine it’d be quite the feat. You’re right, they will all eventually crumble.

  7. #22
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    Apr 2012
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    I kind of wonder what the story is of the first two bridges there existed in this area. The curtis road bridge has existed for ages, but atleast has been rebuild/repaired 3 times, it was just rebuild something like 10-15 years ago. there was another bridge closer to where my parents live that used to go across the river but it's been taken down long ago. It was a really weird design, let me see if I can pull up a pic of it.

    This one is labeled as the curis road bridge, it's the weird designed one I was thinking of.
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/pastperfect...0055650220.jpg

    This bridge is labeled as being in Edenville, not sure if this is the bridge I'm thinking of or not, looks like a short life span style of bridge/construction to me.
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/pastperfect...0191000009.jpg

    Realistically, anything built will eventually will need repaired or replaced, roads, bridges, dams, buildings, electronics, etc. Clearly some things are built better than other things. Like the dams in this area the guy had investors and was on limited funds so they were built on the cheap side. It has also generated power and income for 90+ years too.

    Michigan doesn't have much for hills or scenery, we have trees and water, that's about it lol. Up north there's copper mines, around my area and south there's salt pits. That's why Detroit didn't build very tall, the ground wasn't stable enough for skyscrapers of massive scale like new york has, atleast that's what I've been told over the years.

  8. #23
    ATC King's Avatar
    ATC King is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerAt the back of the pack
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    Modern concrete uses rebar. That's the problem.

    Ancient Roman concrete lasted because it's all concrete, no rebar to rust and destroy the concrete.

    Native stone lasts because it's stable.


    There is no modern technique capable of lasting nearly as long as things built with stone thousands of years ago. Whether ancient builders knew that or didn't have access to iron or steel is irrelevant, because modern society chooses to be ignorant and ignore the past. Brave New World.
    The story of three wheels and a man...

  9. #24
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    There's a lot of rumor, stories, conspircity theories etc around those building styles, but I did see in one spot where a stone was removed and under was chiseled I shape holding the chunks together that was made of metal. I can't remember what type of metal it was, like bronze. No clue if it's real or not but the concept makes sense. According to "experts" the build styles from that era are impossible even with today's advanced tools. That's a whole different can of worms to open up though lol.

    Also, some modern concrete doesn't use rebar, instead it uses some sort of fibers, I don't know anything else about it though.

    Even the stone structures are in disrepair, but the fact that they are standing after so long is still amazing. Today, everything is about profit, time is money etc. Back then I suspect a lot more weight was given to things that last even if it's a ton of work to complete a project.

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