tcr-022021-river-wall (copy)

Pedestrians walk along the Boardman River in Traverse City in February 2021.

TRAVERSE CITY — A firm tasked with evaluating Traverse City’s options for dealing with a river wall, and the precariously perched sewer main resting on it, has some near- and long-term recommendations.

City commissioners on Monday will hear about SmithGroup’s proposed fixes for two sections of wall along the Boardman River between Union and State streets. They’ve become undercut as high water levels scoured dirt from below and behind.

That could spell disaster if the wall foundation shifts, because on top of it sits a major, 24-inch sewer main that serves thousands, as previously reported.

SmithGroup recommends building a sheetpile wall in front of the wall’s foundation between Cass and State streets, then filling behind and below the foundation with concrete, the report shows. The firm also recommends removing the wall between Union and Cass streets, saving the foundation and relocating the sewer main.

The city’s sought out millions in State Clean Water Revolving Fund loans to do just that, among other sewer system overhauls, as previously reported.

Meanwhile, the city should take steps to monitor the wall’s condition, like periodic surveys of the wall itself, measuring pavement cracks every month and sending a camera down the sewer main and service connections to see their physical condition, according to the report.

City Manager Marty Colburn is also set to present an annual report of various city accomplishments, on everything from commissioner-set goals and objectives to infrastructure and parks projects.


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