Water levels sink following dam breach

A dam breach caused Wolf Creek to rise. At times, water was inches from covering the bridge across U.S. 127 in Roscommon County.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, "the worst of it is over."

Water levels are sinking after a dam breach in Roscommon County.

Michigan State Police closed several roads surrounding Wraco Lodge Lake near U.S. 127.

The roads were closed as of Tuesday night. Many of them are seasonal roads that aren't used very much.

The DNR sounded the alarm around 9:30 Tuesday morning that the Wraco Lodge Dam had been breached. Water had started flowing over the dam, which ended up eroding the structure, causing water to pour over the roads for a time.

â??At first when the dam broke, the water surged, hit the bridge and was over the road,â?? said Eric Tiepel, Roscommon County Emergency Management Director. â??Since then it has receded down, but until the water's down, they get an engineer up and inspect the bridge to deem it safe, they're going to leave it closed till that time.â??

â??Unfortunately, with this flash flood, caused by the rain, and the fact that the soil is saturated and possibly frozen depending on where you're atâ??that it has no where else to goâ??it really just overwhelmed the capacity of our spillways to handle all of that water,â?? said Rex Ainslie, DNR Regional Supervisor.

The lake formed by damming Wolf Creek is relatively small, but now those waters are gushing into the creek and spilling over. The dam is considered to be in a low hazard zone because the flood plain is quite barren.

â??The position where that dam is, and the state land, and the forest ground, the wetlands around there, there really isn't any concern for property damage, or public property damage,â?? Tiepel explained.

State police closed several roads, including seasonal roads used to get back to the dam.

â??Most of these roads are above the flood plain,â?? said Ainslie. â??But, right now, the assumption is that they're not safe until this water is receded and gone down to a lower pool level.â??

The water is down more than a foot from reports earlier in the day.

â??That indicates that the worst of it is over unless we get another three inches in a day,â?? said Ainslie.

State police are keeping an eye on the roads, making sure the water continues to ebb away. Before they reopen the roads, an engineer must deem the bridges over Wolf Creek safe.

â??The big concern is that we want to make sure there's no safety issues with these structures,â?? said Ainslie.

â??It'll be more damage to the infrastructure, the roadways. No property loss or anything like that,â?? said Tiepel.

Emergency crews would really like some help from the weather.

â??As long as we get Mother Nature to keep being nice, and letting the wind and temperatures rise so we can start getting some of this water seeping back into the ground and out to the tributaries. That'd be great!â?? said Tiepel.

Wraco and Rollway roads are closed from Old U.S. 27 to Reserve Road.

Old U.S. 27 is also closed to through traffic from Snowbowl Road to the Clare County line.