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MDOT crews replace I-96 Williamston Rd freeway guardrail after fatal semi-truck accident

MDOT crews continue to inspect the extent of the damage from a semi-truck fire.
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Friday morning, the Williamston Road overpass of I-96 was down to one lane with traffic allowed to cross intermittently. Currently, NB Williamston Road is closed at the interchange and a temporary traffic signal is in place.

MDOT crews fixed the guardrail as it needed to be replaced. Engineers checked the concrete on the bridge where the fire was to determine whether it is safe to open the lane that is closed. If it is not deemed safe, they will have to replace that side of the bridge.

“They had to bore a view holes to check the safety to see what kind of damage occurred during the crash,” said MDOT spokesperson Aaron Jenkins.

This allows MDOT inspectors to get a better look at the concrete.

The bridge will not re-open Friday and that has caused some backups.

“It gets a little backed at times as far as traffic in front of my shop goes, it is slightly an inconvenience especially since they spent all summer with it down. So I either have to drive all the way round or I have to sit at the light and wait and it is a pretty long light,” said John Pratt, owner of a nearby auto shop.

MDOT doesn’t have an estimate of when the damage will be fixed.

“The engineers deemed it safe on the other side that is open so again they have some concerns on the other side,” said Pratt. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a huge safety concern for me personally driving a semi-truck over it or something that’s heavy would be a little more concerning.”

“It’s definitely sad my thoughts and prayers def go out to the family it’s definitely sad but unfortunately that’s just how the world works sometimes,“ said Pratt.

Both eastbound and westbound lanes of I-96 are moving at the normal pace, but the westbound’s left lane is closed. Additionally, the ramps at Williamston Rd are congested due to the newly placed traffic lights for crossing.

On Thursday morning, a semi-truck hauling wood pallets rolled over on eastbound I-96 at the overpass, catching fire. Michigan State Police said via Twitter that the crash was fatal.

As of 7:50 p.m. on Thursday, I-96 opened back up.

Traffic on Williamston Road over I-96 is being directed intermittently as MDOT crews inspect...
Traffic on Williamston Road over I-96 is being directed intermittently as MDOT crews inspect the damage done on Thursday.(WILX/Alyssa Plotts)

Here’s what the traffic looked like around 5:21 p.m.

The semi-truck hit the pier of the bridge, which is responsible for holding up the beams. It caused damage to the beams and substructure underneath the bridge. Both eastbound and westbound lanes of I-96 between Okemos Road and M-52 are closed. The Williamston Road overpass and westbound ramp are also closed.

State records show that the truck involved in the crash was a 2006 Volvo Truck Tractor. State records also indicate this truck is owned by Romspeed Trucking, Inc. out of Detroit, MI. State records say the company is owned by Aurel Roman of Howell. LARA records show it has been in business since at least 2008.

MDOT crews were on the scene inspecting the pillars of the bridge/overpass.

The driver involved in the crash is still unidentified.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. WILX will update this story as more information comes in.

Semi Truck crash on eastbound I-96

Semi Truck crash on eastbound I-96. MSP confirms the crash was fatal.

Posted by WILX News 10 on Thursday, March 4, 2021

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