EagleHerald staff writer

STEPHENSON — The Menominee County Road Commission plans to have Shakey Lakes drawn down for needed construction starting July 23. River Road will be closed to public traffic until the completion of the project, which is estimated to be in September. 

This construction will repair culverts under the road, which are “broken and crumbled,” according to Menominee County Administrator Jason Carviou. He said that the culverts are now “egg shaped instead of round” and the repairs are necessary. 

Darrel Moilanen, engineer/manager of the Menominee County Road Commission, said the pipes were originally installed in 1963 and have begun to wear. The diameter of the pipes has shrunk over time because of pressure caused by cars driving on the road above them. The damage is expected of pipes this old, so this is a necessary maintenance project, he said.

This construction was originally planned for last summer, but was rescheduled due to heavy rainfall. At the board meeting Tuesday, Carviou said that any more delay may add to overall costs needed to complete the project. 

The Road Commission plans to install six-inch linings which will help reinforce the existing pipes. To do this, the lake must first be lowered. 

It plans to lower the level of Shakey Lakes by 4 feet, at a rate of 0.25 feet per day. When the water level is as low as it needs to be, it will be 1 foot lower than the existing invert elevation of the 6-foot-diameter dam pipes. 

The Road Commission hopes to work within the pipes themselves, however, in some areas this will be more difficult and the road above the culverts may need to be cut into to allow better access to the pipes, documents from the Road Commission state.

Closing River Road and lowering Shakey Lakes may have some affect on Shakey Lakes Campground, which is located before River Road, when coming from Stephenson. However, to minimize the affect this project has on the campground, it is scheduled to begin the week after the Menominee County Fair, so none of the festivities will be impeded. 

Carviou assures that this construction will have no lasting impact on the environment or the wildlife native to the area, as the drawdown is only temporary. Any wildlife that is affected by the change in water level can return to the lake at the end of summer, when the water level is raised. 

When the construction is completed, the lake will be refilled at a rate of 0.5 feet per day. The estimated date to begin refilling the lake is Sept. 28.