Isabella Co. Roads Still Crumbling, Closed After June Floods

Miles of Isabella County roads still look the way they did months ago after flood waters washed them away.

Five miles of roads throughout the county remain in such rough shape from June flooding, you can’t drive on them.

Many roads were approved for federal help, but will that money come anytime soon?

“We have had to deal with issues like this in the past, but nothing that has taken this long,” says Dave Brant, who has lived near Blanchard Road with his wife, Kathy, for 51 years.

Dave and Kathy live near the mile of Blanchard that is closed due to a large washout.

“We are only a half a mile from the pavement on a dirt road but because traffic was routed this way, we have so much dust and dirt, for one thing,” Kathy says.

Their road is now a detour.

“A lot of people are driving fast,” Kathy says. “They run into the detour and they are losing time so they are going too fast for a dirt road.”

If you take a look at the Blanchard washout west of Shepherd or the damage done to roads like Wise Rd. east of Mt. Pleasant, you won’t notice much else.

Not much has changed since it was washed away in June but we do know that this is only one of five miles of road now that are still closed.

That still means everyone to school buses to farmers have to find a way around.

“It adds at least 10 minutes each way for each driver,” says Steve Sura, Shepherd Public Schools transportation and maintenance director.

Sura says road closures like Blanchard have made bus routes longer.

“We just had to do some remapping, reconfiguring,” Sura says. “Fortunately, that section of road only has three stops on it, but we have four different buses that have to go around it every day and every night.”

Heather Kyser’s family also lives along one of many detours.

“It’s a huge inconvenience for us,” Kyser says. “Our son goes to Shepherd. He’s an athlete so there’s practices and two or three times a trip into Shepherd a day. Never did we ever imagine that it would still be out for three months.”

The Isabella County Road Commission says plans are complete for repairs to roads like Blanchard.

They hope to have it and others reopened by mid-to-late November.

“We’ll believe it when we see it,” Kathy says.