Efforts to repair roads in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are underway.
The Michigan National Guard will begin repair operations this week following severe rain and flooding that caused numerous washouts across the most northern part of the state.
Approximately 70 soldiers from armories in Kingsford, Iron River, Calumet, Sault Ste. Marie and Montague will activated in response to the emergency declaration issued by Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday.
The Soldiers are members of 107th Engineer Battalion headquartered in Ishpeming and the 507th Engineer Battalion headquartered in Kalamazoo.
“This is the right thing to do,” said Maj. Lucas Lanczy, Michigan National Guard liaison for the U.P. operation. “Our soldiers come from the local communities and disaster response at home is why a lot of Soldiers join the Guard. We are happy to help.”
The National Guard’s primary purpose, at least initially, will be to move gravel to repair roadways and areas that have been washed out by the floodwaters.
The temporary repairs will restore avenues of entry and exit that have been destroyed by the floodwaters, making life easier for stranded residents. The repairs will also improve the region’s public health capabilities by allowing emergency medical services to travel easier.
The initial activation of the soldiers is for 10 days, although the Michigan National Guard has the ability to increase or decrease the number of activation days depending on how the mission progresses.
“Amid vast destruction caused by flooding in our Upper Peninsula, community cooperation, Michiganders helping one-another, is thriving,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Vadnais, adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
“Like the unity I witnessed in Gogebic County in 2016, I am always impressed by the indomitable can-do spirit of the men and women I work with daily. Equally impressive is the incredible grace and gratitude of Michigan residents who bravely march forward in extremely difficult times.”