May 22, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 120

Lake Road collapses; couple escapes injury

LITTLE GIRL’S POINT — An elderly couple luckily escaped injury when a sinkhole broke open on County 505 (Lake Road) under their vehicle around noon Tuesday.

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe
GOGEBIC COUNTY Road Commission Engineer Darren Pionk walks near a giant sinkhole that developed on Lake Road, near Little Girl’s Point, around noon Tuesday. The road was closed for repairs today.

The collapse of the county road was the result of more than 5 inches of rain in less than three days.

Gogebic County Road Commission Engineer Darren Pionk said there had been quite a bit of damage from flooding throughout the county and he had been in contact with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials about getting funding assistance for repairs.

Lake Road was closed for repairs, west of Lower Powers Road, near the Tuulimaa Berry Ranch on Lake Superior, today. It was uncertain how long it would take to make the repairs.

Pionk said Tuesday afternoon after viewing the sinkhole it would be a big job in an area that descends about 30 feet.

A small stream that was raging into Lake Superior at the site caused the base for the road to wash out. The stream was the more the size of a river because of the rain.

The vehicle that avoided the hole skidded into the ditch. Pionk said the two people involved were “shook up,” but not hurt. A Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department deputy responded to the accident and was to compile a report.

There’s still some snow in the ditches near the lake, and the considerable spring run-off from a winter that produced more than 220 inches of snow has also been a factor in flooding.

The heavy rain also caused closure of Norrie Park Road for a second time this spring on Tuesday. According to an Ironwood Public Safety Department report, the road was closed at 3:50 a.m. because it washed out in “different places.”

Department of public works employees placed horses, shutting down the road.

At 4 a.m., the nearby Montreal River was up 3.5 feet, according the IPSD.

Small creeks and the Montreal again flooded banks overnight and roadside ditches filled with water.

Ironwood recorded the lowest temperature in Michigan Tuesday, 41 degrees.

Today’s National Weather Service forecast called for a high of only 48, with a low of 36 and a 70 percent chance for more rain.

Sunshine is predicted for both Thursday and Friday.