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Eaton County Road Commissioner needs petition to fix major flooding

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 04:51:45-05

LANSING, Mich. — An Eaton Rapids Township intersection has been closed for more than two weeks because of flooding.

Eaton County Drain Commissioner Richard Wagner said he can't do anything to fix the drain, until citizens start the process.

Wagner said he's surprised no one has filed a petition in the last seven years.

He said flooding at Canal Road and Columbia Highway has been an issue for years.

"It's frustrating for everyone. We don't want the water on the road and the people that drive through there don't want the water on the road," Wagner said.

"We are used to seeing it in the spring anyways," said Whitney Belprez, who lives on Columbia.

Belprez said this is the earliest she's seen the intersection at Canal flooded.

"It does cause quite a bit of an inconvenience for everyone. Mostly for the number of cars that drive down and have to turn around and go back," she said.

Belprez said she expects the road to be closed for several more weeks.

Wagner said the drain is working throughout the system, there's just an issue with it.

"The drain is way undersized and it was established in 1879," said Wagner.

Wagner said state law prevents him from doing any projects.

He can only spend $5,000 per mile for maintenance.

"That drain has been fixed and repaired, so it is kind of like band-aids all over. We want to get it all redone so it has constant flow," Wagner said.

To do a major project, Wagner said people need to turn in a petition with five valid signatures.

In the seven years he's been a commissioner, no one has come forward.

"Had a lot of complaints, but no one has produced a petition," said

Belprez said she's not sure she would sign a petition to fix flooding.

"I kind of have to weigh how much an inconvenience it is to not be able to turn left out of my driveway," she said.

The Eaton County Road Commissioner said the Canal and Columbia intersection is closed until farther notice.

Drivers are highly encouraged to not drive around the barricades.

Eaton Rapids Township is holding a special meeting Thursday, February 6 to discuss the flooding.

It starts at 7 p.m. at the Eaton Rapids Township Hall.

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