UPDATE: All Lanes of U.S. 127 Reopen

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

MDOT has reopened all lanes of U.S. 127 between Kipp and Barnes Roads in southern Ingham County.

They had been closed since early Monday morning when a tanker rolled over, spilling up to 9,000 gallons of liquid asphalt. MDOT opened one northbound lane Monday evening. The southbound lanes opened a little after 5pm Tuesday. The second northbound lane opened a little more than an hour later.

Now, it's difficult to tell the accident ever happened.

Environmental crews from Clean Harbor worked over night Monday and through Tuesday excavating the median, where the brunt of the damage was done. They dug up the portions where asphalt spilled, replaced it with new dirt, and already laid the seed for new grass. It was a pretty routine process, but one that will cost a lot.

"It's going to be a number with a lot of zeros behind it, I can tell you that," said Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth.

He plans to send a bill to MCS Trucking or its insurance carrier, and MDOT will do the same.

"We're stilling getting equipment on scene to clean up this area, so it's hard to say at this point what the final figure will be," said Kari Arend, an MDOT spokesperson. "We have a process in place to recoup these costs."

Costs that could have been much larger, because just a quarter of a mile away is Sycamore Creek.

"Luckily it was contained," said Randy Abbott, Ingham County Drain Maintenance Supervisor. "I mean, it could have been so much worse, had it been raining, which would have transported the liquid for long distances and had probably gotten into the creek. That would have been really bad."

He said residents don't need to be concerned about their water supply. The asphalt didn't sink deep enough into the ground.

"Their clean up efforts are really only in the top foot of dirt, which is really a good situation for the people that are cleaning it up," Abbott said.

There's no good situation for the driver of the tanker though. He didn't suffer serious injuries, but many are still speculating he fell asleep at the wheel. He said that's not what happened.

Wriggelsworth can't prove it either way, but he is issuing tickets.

"He's going to be cited for two violations," Wriggelsworth said. "One is he had an expired medical card. He's required as a commercial driver to have an updated medical card. And he's also going to be cited for careless driving."

There were no gawker-related accidents during the clean up process.

The Department of Environmental Quality has the final say when clean up is officially over.

Crews will still be working on the shoulder in the days to come, but traffic will flow as usual.

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