Well-Traveled Oceana County Road Remains Closed

As the debate over how to fund repairs to Michigan roads continues in Lansing, people who use one important stretch of road are growing very frustrated.

That stretch of road is closed, and there’s no sign of progress on repairs.

Longbridge Road in Oceana County has been closed since May.

It is the only way across Pentwater Lake.

The closure has meant a lengthy detour for months.

Stephanie and Jim Emms can see Longbridge road from their back yard, but they haven’t been able to drive on it for months.

“We do not shop in Pentwater as we used to, so a lot of our Pentwater businesses are losing our dollars because it’s easier for us in our area to go to Hart,” said Stephanie.

Ron Beeber lives on the other side of Longbridge road. He wanted to come speak with us too, but it was faster for him to walk through the water to meet us.

“It’s maddening, it’s maddening for the people that have to go through the process. Basically you’re talking about a stretch of road that I believe is 700 feet and they’re making people drive nine miles and 20 minutes in good weather,” said Beeber.

The Oceana County Road Commission announced this week they expect repairs to be expensive, but not more than $400,000. They’re also working to finalize a repair plan. State Senator Jon Bumstead has been working with the road commission.

“We’ve been in contact with them basically weekly with the county road commission in whatever we can help out with the state level and it might just be permitting from DNR or DEQ whichever it takes,” said Bumstead.

While there have been signs of progress, frustration and concern has only seemed to grow.

“Our route normally was 2.5 miles to school and it’s turned into 11. Our travel time is basically 15-17 minutes one way. In the winter on the detour that’s set up, I imagine it’s going to be longer. We have a couple of kids in our neighborhood, one who is an anaphylactic and medical response time for that situation can be really hard there and it makes you emotional,” said parent Amy Fleming.