FRASER (WWJ) -- Another standing-room-only meeting in the city of Fraser was held Monday night, as residents impacted by the massive sinkhole that opened up in December gathered for an update.
With early cost estimates for a fix pegged at $100 million, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candace Miller said the effort is already underway to seek state financial support.
"We are not crying wolf here, this is a crisis," Miller said Monday night, "it's an emergency and we need help."
As work continues on a bypass sewer line, most of the 22 nearby families forced to evacuate Eberlein St. -- near 15 Mile Rd. between Utica and Hayes roads -- have been allowed back into their homes. However, three homes were permanently condemned, leaving those families with nowhere to live.
"This was my dream house and now I have to sit here in a hotel and it's really hurt me to see my family go through this and my neighbors move back to [their] house and I still have nowhere to live," the owner of one of the condemned homes said at the meeting.
Adequate repairs to the massive sinkhole are expected to take nearly a year to complete.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder visited the site of the sinkhole on Sunday after declaring a State of Emergency in the city of Fraser last week.
"It was important to go see it in first-person," Snyder told reporters. "I had an opportunity to meet one of the residents — we need to understand that this impacts real people's lives in terms of having to leave their homes, other challenges and also the long-term risk associated with this."
Authorities say the sinkhole arose due to a sewer pipe collapse about 45 feet under the ground. Over 500,000 residents and their properties could be impacted if the ground shifts from this sinkhole, while a water conservation order remains in effect for much of the county now.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said local resources are not enough to cope with the situation, so state and federal aid are needed.
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