Chunk-by-chunk, the remains of the Nine Mile overpass atI-75 are being brought down by demolition crews after a tanker truck accident resulted in an inferno on the roadway below. Once the work is complete, and the debris is cleared off I-75, MDOT will bring in a pavement specialist to assess the condition of the roadway which 95,000 people use every day. Multiple demolition crews are working at the scene, but a re-opening date for I-75 is not yet certain. Amazingly, only three people were injured.
MDOT spokesperson Rob Morosi said, "Best case scenario...demo...clean-up...couple of days...pavement determination and subsequent fix...could be anywhere from...hard to say...I'm speculating...a week to several weeks."
The initial estimate for the repair is approximately $1 million.
State records indicate the driver of the car which Michigan State Police say caused the accident is Saied Haidarian-Shahri, 27, of Clawson. His driving record shows no violations, but he is on probation as a new driver. He received his driver's license in May, 2009. Because there were only three minor injuries, Shahri will face only misdemeanor and violation charges. TV reports on Thursday revealed no answer at his address, although someone had left a copy of the examination preparation book for the Michigan Secretary of State driver's license exam at his door.
Morosi said the case will be referred to the Attorney General's office with the police report to evaluate insurance recovery from Shahri toward the cost of the destroyed overpass. "It's definitely an effort we will make," Morosi said.
I-75 remains closed in both directions -- Northbound at Eight Mile Road and Southbound at I-696 . The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating as crews began to clear the rubble on Thursday.
Hazel park Police tell WWJ the eventual plan is to re-open the ramp from I-75 to Nine Mile Road once emergency and engineering crews determine what needs to be done to the overpass, whether they need to have crews on the topside of the overpass to do the work necessary. They are interested in reducing the traffic pressure at the I-696/I-75 interchange with drivers having to take Woodward to Eight Mile and back to the freeway.
Morosi said they need to determine if the steel beams under the west side of the overpass that takes Nine Mile over the freeway were compromised by the intense heat and flames. It's likely they may have to take down what's still standing and start anew. This overpass was built only a year ago as part of a project to rehabilitate a series of overpasses along I-75 from downtown to I-696. He confirms the intense heat melted the steel beams underneath the overpass on the northbound side and brought that part of the bridge deck down on top of the tanker.
The overpass was built only a year ago as part of a project to rehabilitate a series of overpasses along I-75 from downtown Detroit to I-696. He confirms the intense heat melted the steel beams underneath the overpass on the northbound side and brought that part of the bridge deck down on top of the tanker.
A tanker truck carrying 13,000 gallons of fuel exploded on the northbound lanes of I-75 around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday after an accident.
Here are suggested alternates:
SB: I-696 to Woodward, south to 8 Mile NB: 8 Mile to Woodward to 11 Mile or 12 Mile Other options include the other nearby surface streets such as Campbell-Hilton, John R and Dequindre.
Hazel Park fire crews remained on the scene for more than four hours after the explosion was reported. The flames were out. Residents and drivers in the area reported explosions and flames blowing 150 to 200 feet in the air.
"I thought it was the end of the world...it scared me," Hazel Park resident Dorothy Carrier told WWJ's Marie Osborne. Carrier was shopping nearby when the explosion occurred.
WWJ's Ron Dewey and Vickie Thomas were at the scene Thursday morning, as the wreckage came to light with the morning sun.
The explosion caught the Nine Mile Road bridge over the freeway on fire. A portion of the Nine Mile bridge collapsed onto the northbound lanes of I-75.
Early reports said at least two semi trucks and two other vehicles were involved. The tanker and two other vehicles were destroyed, according to witnesses. The driver of the semi said he had more than 9,000 gallons of gasoline in the tanker and more than 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
At one point, gasoline had run into the sewer system along the freeway and was burning in the sewer system. Michigan State Police said the driver of the tanker truck was accounted for, but wouldn't say if he was in the hospital. A spokesman at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital says three people were brought in for treatment. Two had respiratory problems.
Police evacuated businesses in the area of Nine Mile and I-75. No homes were evacuated, however residents in the area were being told to close their doors and windows. Officials with the EPA were on the scene monitoring air quality.
Because of the explosions and fire, power was out in the neighborhood for a few hours to 2,000 DTE customers.
Speaking live with WWJ's Paul Snider shortly after the explosion, Morosi described the fire as "an inferno." Morosi said it was too early to say how long I-75 will be closed at Nine Mile Road.
Drivers needing to motor around the area can use Eight Mile Road and I-696 to get around the freeway closure.