Snyder declares state of disaster

By RYAN JARVI and KELSIE THOMPSON

Journal Staff Writers

MARQUETTE – Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday declared a state of disaster for Marquette County following severe flooding of the Chocolay River earlier this week that damaged roadways and led to emergency responders rescuing several people from their homes.

Heavy rainfall over a short period of time early Tuesday caused flooding along the river in Chocolay, Skandia and West Branch townships.

Marquette County Administrator Scott Erbisch estimated the cost to repair damages to local and county roads at nearly $400,000.

“The cost estimates to repair M-94 (a state roadway) will be significantly greater than what we quoted on the local roads,” he said.

A portion of M-94 – about 2 miles west of U.S. 41 where the east branch of the Chocolay River runs beneath the roadway – sustained heavy damage after a culvert system failed.

The washout is estimated to be about 90 feet wide to a depth of 35 feet, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Emergency personnel also rescued 10 individuals from their homes in response to the flooding.

Following Snyder’s declaration, Erbisch said the next step is to have the request sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V offices to potentially secure federal funding.

“We’re very pleased with the governor’s prompt review and response to our request,” Erbisch said.

Marquette County officials determined local resources were insufficient to address the situation, according to a release from Snyder’s office, and declared a local state of emergency Friday, followed by a request for the governor’s declaration.

“Thanks to our emergency responders immediately addressing life and safety concerns, there were no injuries or deaths, which is the most important thing,” Snyder said in the release. “The state will now use its resources to ensure communities recover and residents can return to a sense of normalcy.”

Snyder’s declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts, and allows the state to request federal highway funding to repair road damages.

“Staff from the MSP/EMHSD has been actively working with our emergency management partners in Marquette County since this incident began,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP and state director of emergency management and homeland security. “Along with our state agency partners, we’ll continue to assist the affected communities in order to obtain the disaster relief necessary.”

Ryan Jarvi can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His email address is rjarvi@miningjournal.net. Kelsie Thompson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is kthompson@miningjournal.net.