By Brian McGillivary and Loraine Anderson
TRAVERSE CITY -- The Boardman River partially breached Brown Bridge Dam in Grand Traverse County today and prompted officials to announce an evacuation of homes along the river.
An estimated foot to 24" of river water began to pour late this morning through an area where a dewatering structure had been erected as part of a project to remove dams along the Boardman. County emergency management officials weren’t sure what caused the breach, but crews from Molon Excavating had been working this morning to remove sheet piling near the dewatering structure to allow water to drain from Brown Bridge pond.
The breach apparently occurred along the dewatering structure. Molon crews are using heavy equipment to drop boulders into that area in an effort to stem flooding downstream.
"They don’t expect it to cause flooding in homes at this time," said Larry Inman, county board chairman. "If the dam continues to deteriorate, there might be a problem."
Some evacuations are occurring along River Road, and authorities are recommending evacuations along River Road between Garfield and Keystone roads, said John Boris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Brown Bridge Dam is to be dismantled as part of a sweeping Boardman River restoration project.
The county’s emergency management website included the following advisory today:
"... Recommending to Residences along River Road between Garfield and Keystone Rd to evacuate due to riverine flooding in the Boardman River caused by a potential dam failure at the temporary Brown Bridge Dam."
Follow the Record-Eagle today for more details and breaking news.