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Public Works Office
Candice S. Miller
21777 Dunham Road, Clinton Township, MI 48036
(586) 469-5325

Update on 15 Mile Sewer/Sinkhole Project

Anderson Eckstein and Westrick, Inc.

51301 Schoenherr Road
Shelby Township, MI 48315
Phone (586) 726-1234

Media Contact: Wayne Oehmke,                      

Date: December 30, 2016

As of Dec. 29, considerable progress has been made on securing the site for the safety of workers and residents alike, with the installation of additional perimeter fencing, and preparations are being made to remove “leftovers” from the roadways that are associated with this 24/7 project.

Bypass piping has been installed I through 15 Mile Road, and the metal plates currently covering the excavations will soon be replaced with a concrete overlay, and any dirt and other debris on the pavement that is open to the public will soon be eliminated.

Work continues to make homes, apartments and businesses as accessible as possible for everyone, including those residents on Eberlein Street who now have access to their homes via a temporary sidewalk from the Fraser Senior Activity Center. Other than the three homes that won’t be able to inhabited going forward, the other Eberlein Street residents will be able to once-again live in their homes no later than Monday, Jan. 9.

Temporary mailboxes have been set up in the Senior Activity Center lot, utilities are coming back on line, temporary roadways are being established, Fraser school bus routes have been redesigned, SMART bus administrators are aware of the road closure on 15 Mile Road, and work continues on the repair project itself.

Signs announcing that “Businesses are Open” are being created and will list the names of businesses located between Utica Road and the sinkhole, and will be posted on three corners at the intersection of 15 Mile and Utica Rd.

Work continues day and night on this huge project, and we are installing and reconnecting utilities to the Eberlein street homes. A temporary access road to those homes is being built with the entrance just west of the sinkhole on 15 Mile Road. “De-watering,” necessary to stabilize the soil for future repairs, emergency, intermediate and longer-term bypass piping and pump installation is proceeding on a daily basis, and a “Conserve Water” effort is underway in all of the impacted communities.

Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc. (AEW) of Shelby Township serves as the Lead Engineer for this enormous project, and is supported by a virtual army of professional contractors, sub-contractors, and city, county and state officials.

Additional updates on this important project will be made on a regular basis.


We thought it interesting to note, “What Causes a Sinkhole,” and referenced the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website:

What is a "Sinkhole"?

A sinkhole is an area of ground that has no natural external surface drainage--when it rains, all of the water stays inside the sinkhole and typically drains into the subsurface. Sinkholes can vary from a few feet to hundreds of acres and from less than 1 to more than 100 feet deep. Some are shaped like shallow bowls or saucers whereas others have vertical walls; some hold water and form natural ponds.

Typically, sinkholes form so slowly that little change is noticeable, but they can form suddenly when a collapse occurs. Such a collapse can have a dramatic effect if it occurs in an urban setting.

New sinkholes have been correlated to land-use practices, especially from groundwater pumping and from construction and development practices. Sinkholes can also form when natural water-drainage patterns are changed and new water-diversion systems are developed. Some sinkholes form when the land surface is changed, such as when industrial and runoff-storage ponds are created. The substantial weight of the new material can trigger an underground collapse of supporting material, thus causing a sinkhole.The overburden sediments that cover buried cavities in the aquifer systems are delicately balanced by groundwater fluid pressure. The water below ground is actually helping to keep the surface soil in place. Groundwater pumping for urban water supply and for irrigation can produce new sinkholes in sinkhole-prone areas. If pumping results in a lowering of groundwater levels, then underground structural failure, and thus, sinkholes, can occur.