Sterling Heights Lawsuit Against Macomb County, Over Sinkhole, Dismissed

Michigan residents are used to infrastructure issues such as potholes and even sinkholes frequently occurring due to Michigan's status as the land of lakes and tempered weather. Lately however, Michiganders are becoming exasperated with dealing with the financial and infrastructural fallout of these destructive holes. In December 2016, a particularly dangerous sinkhole in Fraser, Michigan appeared on 15 Mile Road and Eberlein Street, causing residents to be evacuated from their homes and for part of 15 Mile Road to be closed down.

The sinkhole was caused by a sewer line that is currently being funded and fixed under the Macomb Interceptor Drainage District (MIDD) which is made up of county and city entities including Fraser, Utica, Macomb Township, Clinton county, Harrison County, and Sterling Heights, to name a few. The MIDD tasked Sterling Heights with submitting a share of $22.2 million dollars toward funding repairs. The city of Sterling Heights was outraged with the portion of money that they were tasked to raise and responded with a lawsuit on May 8, 2017, against Macomb County. Sterling Heights claims that the county should be responsible for the repair cost, and not the citizens of the communities affected by the sinkhole.

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How The Sinkhole Was Created

As Fraser Public Safety's Lt. Mike Pettyes explains, the main 11-foot-wide sewer line - that lies 55 feet underground -  had a break that allowed waste and water to wash out the dirt and sand that supports the structures above ground. Once the supporting layers of dirt were washed out, it caused a gap that allowed for the land above, to sink into the hole in order to fill it in. Also, this isn't the first time a sinkhole has happened in this area. Back in August 2004, a sinkhole grew to be 160-feet long and 60-feet wide appeared as a result of a collapsed sewer line and was closed to the public for 10 months.

Sinkhole Repair Costs And Necessity

Based on current inspections, the sinkhole is expected to cost $75 million dollars to repair, if the pipe doesn’t completely collapse before it is repaired. $70 million of this enormous amount is supposed to be paid by 25-year-old bonds owned by Macomb County and the remaining $5 million is to be covered by state grants. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) uses the sinkhole as evidence that Michigan’s infrastructure is in need of improvements. This statement is sufficiently supported by The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) who gave Michigan’s infrastructure a D on it’s report card back in 2009. The latest reports show that in 2011, Michigan still wasn’t making the grade with nearly 1,300 of the 11,022 bridges in 'poor' to 'failing' condition, 22% of the major roads in 'poor' condition and 66 of its waste sites being put on the national priorities list.

Sterling Heights Lawsuit Dismissed

Crumbling Overpass

The MIDD contracted the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District (MCWDD) back in 2010 to deal with repairs and upkeep of the sewer line. However, the MCWDD failed to do their job. As a result, the city of Sterling Heights was issued a bill for $22.2 million dollars of the estimated $75 million repair cost. This is a cost that Mayor Michael Taylor of Sterling Heights argues is unfair to his city, its residents, and its businesses to pay for, due to the “breach in contract” on MCWDDs part.

However, Macomb County Circuit Judge Jennifer Faunce didn't think so, which is why she dismissed Sterling Heights' lawsuit in favor of the MIDD's argument that the lawsuit was preventing the sewer line from being fixed. But, this may not be the last time the MIDD will face trouble from Sterling Heights. Mayor Taylor says that he is disappointed by Judge Faunce's decision and is currently reconvening with the city's attorney and the City Council to figure out a solution. 

“I’m going to do everything I can to protect our taxpayers,” declared Taylor.

Temporary Fixes

As of May 14, 2017, officials state that an additional $6.2 million in new repairs is needed. In the meantime, a temporary bypass line has been installed to help waste flow around the sinkhole area and allow inspectors to further investigate the damage of the sewer line. So far, east of the sinkhole (upstream) shows signs of deterioration with gushing leaks and fractures. West of the sinkhole (downstream) has been scheduled to be inspected for damages later on this summer and could possibly drive up the cost of the repair bill and the therefore the need for additional bonds to be sold.

Hopefully, while negotiations and repair are underway regarding who will pay for what, the sinkhole doesn't collapse even further or potentially spread and make the situation even worse. In the meantime, drivers should pay attention to where they are driving as sinkholes are a serious matter. Drivers should be careful of streets with noticeable dips or drainage problems which could be a sign of it's failing infrastructure. In addition, while repairs are being made along 15 Mile Road, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists should all be wary of construction site accidents. By looking out for construction signs, slowing down car speed at construction sites, and by generally traveling through construction sites more cautiously, people may be able to avoid serious injuries that can arise from construction motor vehicle accidents.


Infrastructure damage and repair has been a growing problem in Michigan for many years, let alone the entire nation. In 2013, the ASCE estimated that the cost of updating the infrastructure in America could cost up to $3.6 trillion dollars by the year 2020. Have you or someone you know sustained injuries in an accident stemming from damaged infrastructure? If so, call 844.4MI.FIRM to speak with an attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm provides free consultations.

Detroit's Street Lighting Overhaul

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In Detroit, Michigan more than 50 light poles became damaged and were in need of replacement every month due to vehicle collisions. This year alone, two fatal speeding car crashes on Detroit’s westside resulted in death and have respectively caused a damaged utility pole and a split pole. Car vs. pole collisions are one of the leading reasons why the Public Lighting Authority (PLA) worked diligently to replace the streetlights in Detroit. In fact, the streetlight project was one they had been working on since they were formed in 2013, following the Auto Industry Crisis during which the city fell on hard times causing many streetlights to be neglected and longer operating. In addition, during this economic downfall, an estimated 40% of the 80,000 streetlights within the city were scrapped for their metal.

In December 2016, Dr. Lorna Thomas told The Detroit Free Press that, "This is a symbolic project. It stands for the resurgence of Detroit," Thomas said. "They said it couldn't be done."

The symbolic lighting project has replaced over 65,000 streetlights since 2014 with LED light bulbs that save on energy while emitting a brighter light. The PLA also took it upon themselves to upgrade 85%-90% of the lighting systems and wiring to deter vandalism. Since the old lights using copper based wiring, scrappers would strip the light poles of the wiring to sell the copper linings for money. The PLA also hoped to put a stop to theft by changing the wiring to hang overhead instead of in the ground under the light poles.  

Another reason that citizens of Detroit have been pleased by these much needed repairs is because they didn't have to pay for them upfront. The repairs and upgrades were paid for in the form of bonds provided by Citicorp, a New York based banking corporation that agreed to have the money paid back over a 30-year-period, through Detroit’s utility tax.

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The PLA was proud to announce that the lighting project had been completed ahead of time and under budget, at the end of 2016. Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can benefit from better lightning on Detroit roads as a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) attributed 40% of motor vehicle accidents to be the result of intersections that are poorly lit at night. The USDOT says those accidents can be reduced by 35% if streetlights were properly installed at intersections. So, the completion of the project could not come at a better time as the summer weather causes more cars to be on the road late at night. Also, the new and better lighting keeps users of Detroit's new bike share program MoGo, safer if people want to ride bicycles after dark. 

Detroit residents are urged to call 844LIGHT313, if a light in their area needs to be serviced. With Detroit undergoing a revitalization, it is up to the residents to help make sure the city keeps the momentum by making sure streets are lit well enough to potentially prevent crime and car accidents.


The PLA's efforts in redesigning the streetlights could help provide Detroit intersections with much needed lighting to help prevent accidents. In addition to this lifesaver, new streetlights may even deter criminal activity. If you or someone you know have been involved in an auto accident, call the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our firm is highly experienced in dealing with motor vehicle accidents and will help you identify any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Summer Construction Heats Up at Detroit Metropolitan Airport

It is almost the official start of Summer, and in Michigan, the hot and sunny weather would not be complete without a daily dosage of road construction. The harsh winter climate in the mitten state destroys pavement, forcing the state to hire construction workers to repair damage during the three months of the year when the weather is most tame. The latest local construction project could leave those looking to travel to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport needing some extra time to make sure they aren’t stuck in a sea of orange cones when they should be boarding a plane.

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Detroit Metro Airport is the only major hub for air transportation for much of southeast Michigan and its surrounding areas. Construction has already begun on Lucas Drive, which gives drivers access to rental car parking lots close to the airport. Additionally, construction began June 12, 2017 on Rogell Drive, which connects I-94 to the northern area of the airport campus, as mentioned by the Detroit Free Press. When drivers exit I-94 onto Merriman Road, it turns into Rogell Drive near the airport. And with, Wayne County Authority Officials saying that 75% of people visiting the airport arrive via Merriman Road from I-94, this latest construction development becomes a road bump for the majority of visitors to the airport this Summer.

Construction improvements to these areas include the creation of “new overhead signs that are easier to understand and will improve wayfinding to the terminals,” Kelly Ferencz, Airport Authority Deputy Director of Facilities Design and Construction, said in a news release. “We’re also reconstructing the entrance of our parking structure near the North Terminal, the Big Blue Deck.” Hopefully, these developments will help modernize the airport roads and keep travel safe for drivers.

While most of the construction is expected to finish before Thanksgiving in November 2017, Summer travels to the airport will definitely require some planning ahead. The Airport Authority recommends the following tips for those driving to the airport:

Detroit Metropolitan Airport Construction Travel Tips

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  • Arrive early and allow extra time to navigate through the campus.
  • Utilize cell phone waiting lots and short-term parking to reduce congestion.
  • Use Middlebelt Road to access the rental car facilities.
  • Beginning on July 5th, there will be lane closures on Rogell Drive, which will cause “Arrive 275” to be put into effect. This means that drivers should use I-275’s Eureka Road exit to reach the McNamara Terminal of the airport.

Drivers should always be cautious around construction, as reduced speeds and increased congestion alter normal traffic patterns. Watching for road signs and being mindful of construction cones and barriers can help drivers avoid becoming involved in a car accident. In addition, paying attention to construction updates throughout the Summer can help drivers plan ahead for extra travel time. It is also important that travelers to the airport allot extra travel time because the stress of making flights on time combined with construction caused congested traffic, is a formula for creating road rage. By leaving for the airport an hour earlier than planned, jetsetters may be able to avoid an aggressive driving car crash. The last thing someone wants, is to be stuck in construction around Detroit Metro Airport while their flight to Hawaii takes off in the skies above them.


Construction changes normal traffic patterns, forcing drivers to slow down, making commutes longer, and bringing out road rage in aggressive drivers. Construction sites themselves are also dangerous and contain elements that may cause injuries if drivers are not paying attention to construction signage. If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic accident related to road construction, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Clinton Township Hall Road Reconstruction

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If any motorists have ventured down Hall road (M-59) recently, they should have noticed that the area is under major construction. That's because Michigan’s Clinton Township Board of Trustees voted to upgrade M-59 back on December 7, 2016. 

These upgrades include adding an extra lane to help ease traffic congestion, new roads paved with asphalt, easily visible traffic signs, and replacing traffic lights with safer versions that are designed to decrease swaying.

The Cost Of Clinton Township Safety

Local 4 disclosed that the estimated cost of the total reconstruction project, which will take place over a year and a half, is $60 million. Despite the high cost, Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon claims that the upgrades are necessary in order for Clinton Township to be up to par with Sterling Heights, Shelby Township and Macomb Townships' new upgrades. Also, Cannon confirmed with the county's Finance Department to confirm that the cost of this massive reconstruction wouldn't actually put a strain on the county's budget.

Cannon also agrees with Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn that these upgrades will alleviate safety concerns on Hall Road, in regards to the perils of walking or biking across M-59, due to the current status of the broken down crosswalks. In fact, just in the months of January through August 2016, the Accident Data Center (ADC) recorded Macomb Township having 7 accidents, 3 of which involved pedestrians. That is more than enough justification for Clinton Township to repair their crosswalks.

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What Has Been Done So Far?

The reconstruction of Hall Road officially started back in March, 2017 and so far Phase 1 of the project is underway. Phase 1 entails repaving the street in asphalt, adding the modern mast arm traffic signals, improved drainage, replacing traffic signs, upgrading the sidewalks to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and planting some new greenery. Once this is all completed, Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in March 2018. 

While the replacement of unsafe traffic lights and the repair of broken down roads leads to the future safety of the citizens of Clinton Township, Michigan, the construction itself may cause problems in the current time. Accidents in construction zones are unfortunately very common. Whether it's an improperly labelled construction site or debris from tearing up concrete that may lead to a pedestrian fall, or angry drivers experiencing road rage from closed roads possibly causing automobile crashes, construction sites can be unsafe. Therefore, it is important for drivers and pedestrians to be cautious and attentive when they see construction cones and signs, in order to avoid serious construction injuries.


With many cyclist, pedestrian, and motor vehicle accidents accidents occurring on M-59, it's wonderful that Clinton Township is updating Hall Road's safety. Although the construction will be costly, it is worth spending the money to save innocent pedestrians and bicyclists from being involved in automobile accidents. However, while the upgrades are taking place, travelers on Hall Road should take extra precaution to avoid becoming injured by the construction. If you or someone you know has been involved in a collision at a construction site, call the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. We fight for our victims rights to receive compensation as they may be entitled to under Michigan law. Call 844.MI.FIRM today for a free consultation.

I-94 at Detroit Metro Airport Construction

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If you are somebody who enjoys months long construction, you've probably been enjoying the Detroit Metro Airport construction. This $9 million I-94 repair project began on Monday, June 13th. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) told WWJ Detroit that work along I-94 near the airport, between Telegraph and I-275 will continue through mid-November. 

The news station reported that nearly 11 miles of freeway and ramps in the Romulus and Taylor area are being repaired with resurfacing, concrete pavement, drainage work, and pavement markings. The majority of the workload takes place during overnight hours and full-time during the weekends. MDOT plans on working overnight on the westbound lanes of I-94, just west of Telegraph Road, 8 PM to 5 AM and around the clock on the weekends. 

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MDOT has planned both single and double-lane closures on I-94 which may leave only one lane open. The main ramps which lead to the airport will stay open as often as possible through mid-August, when concrete repair work will force the ramps to close. 

To avoid any delays with this construction, MDOT is strongly advising drivers to use the I-275 and Eureka Road airport entrance. To follow all of this summer’s construction work and their impacts on your commute, check out MDOT’s Interactive Traffic Map


Nobody likes traffic, and nobody likes getting into an accident. While stuck in a standstill on the way home from work, drivers will try anything to speed up their commute time, including breaking the law. If you or somebody you know has been in an accident involving a driver who just had to run that red light or turn without signaling, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Injuries can be minor enough to leave a bruise or major enough to leave you unable to go to work. Whatever the case, our attorneys will work alongside you to get you the help you deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

The City Of Detroit To Spend $60 Million On Roadways

The City of Detroit is shelling out big bucks this construction season to fix the roads in the city that really need it. According to the Detroit News, the city is spending far more than it did around this time last year to fix roadway issues, especially in residential areas of the city. The funds to complete this work are coming from federal transportation funds and the City of Detroit’s share of the state gasoline tax revenue.

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The current plans are to resurface 53 miles of roadway in Detroit neighborhoods and 26 miles of major roadway. Most of this work will be done by city work crews, which have hired extra seasonal workers to take on the extra load.

The current major projects slated include many major roadways. New landscaped medians and bike paths on East Jefferson and repavement of other parts is slated to be finished in late 2017. Improvements will be made to the Rosa Parks Bridge north of Lafayette, the Lafayette bridge west of Rosa Parks, and the bridge between Mount Elliot and Mound Road. Upgrades will also be made to four roads near the Rouge River to reduce storm runoff into the sewer system. Construction on many of these projects has already started and should conclude around November of 2016. The roads that were selected were chosen due to their condition, amount of usage, and density of surrounding neighborhoods. Although no roads will be closed during the duration of this work, traffic is expected. Crews ask for citizens of Detroit to be patient as they try and make the roadways safer for everyone.

Detroit is often known as one of the worst off cities when it comes to the state of its infrastructure, including roadways and bridges. This news should be met with smiles from many Detroiters, because these changes are long overdue. It is important to keep roadways safe for drivers because this limits the number of accidents and allows for traffic to run smoothly in regularly congested areas. While the roadwork is going on it is important to slow down and always be weary of workers. After the construction is finished, all the time spent allowing for it to be done will be well worth it.


If you or someone you know has been involved in an motor vehicle accident, including a crash caused by construction, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle accidents. They will help you get teh help that you need while you recover from your injuries. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.