NEW BUFFALO — Lubke Road, a popular route to New Buffalo Elementary School or way to avoid downtown New Buffalo traffic, is closed to through traffic between U.S. 12 and Sand Road until further notice. High water from a nearby stream washed out a portion of the roadway just east of Spring Street on Saturday, Jan. 11.
Over time, the stream has moved closer to the road and caused erosion of the bank, according to Adri Boone, Berrien County Road Department. Stabilizing the bank of the stream is necessary to maintain the roadway for the traveling public. She said the spot on Lubke Road had been under watch prior to the weekend’s heavy rain.
Since there is a stream involved, the Berrien County Road Department is working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to create a solution. Because there are two agencies involved, Boone said she could not estimate how long the road will be closed nor the extent of the needed repairs.
The recommended detour route is U.S. 12 to Wilson Road to Stromer Road to Sand Road. At this point, the detour is not signed but may be posted if it is determined that repairs cannot be quickly made to stabilize the bank.
“I sure hope they open it soon. It makes the bus ride a whole lot longer,” said Ed Lijewski, director of technology and transportation for New Buffalo Area Schools.
Boone said there were five road closures on county roads due to high water over the weekend. All but two have reopened. The two remaining closures are on Fedore Road in Buchanan Township and a small portion of Buffalo Road in Galien. She said these four closures were recurring trouble areas when there is high water, unlike the Lubke Road closing which was not necessarily due solely to the rainfall.
Boone said the fact that the ground is not yet frozen is a good thing so the ground can still absorb the water. However, she added, the water is high everywhere and the ground is saturated so it takes longer for the rivers to react.
“We have seen standing water in areas where it has never been seen before,” Boone said.