MDOT working to avoid crumbling concrete damaging vehicles on I-696

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 17:43:52-05

MDOT is working on finding a temporary fix to keep I-696 in shape until the major overhaul this spring. 

Since 7 Action News first reported on crumbling concrete damaging vehicles, MDOT held a meeting to discuss options.

"This is a huge deal," said Diane Cross, the spokesperson for MDOT.  

Cross is not downplaying the serious nature of the accidents and incidents where pieces of roadway have damaged vehicles or gone through windshields.

"Please understand, we are just devastated that these crashes have happened and it could have been any of us, all of our MDOT folks and family, we drive the same roads as the public and we are all so concerned about this,” said Cross.

Cross said the damage and issues span all parts of I-696, not just one section, and they don’t have any plans to close down the entire roadway.  

"The option of closing the freeway, we're talking a minimum of 100,000 drivers a day who use that, where would we send those folks?  There are no other roads, that are not a freeway that handle that volume,” said Cross. 

I-696 is getting a major overhaul in Oakland and Macomb Counties this spring, but this issue can’t wait that long.

MDOT leaders and engineers met to discuss a temporary solution.  

“We’re looking at if there's other processes that other cold weather states are using, we're looking into manufacturers that have some other types of products that we haven't tried yet,” said Cross.

She said for now, drivers should be on the alert.  

"The only thing you can really do for yourself is drive defensively,” said Cross.

She said this problem has been years in the making. It comes down to money, and it’s not just limited to I-696. 

"Our entire infrastructure in the state of Michigan is the same as I-696.  We hope that on every road, everybody makes it home at night and we are doing our best,” said Cross. 

MDOT has not yet made a final decision about what option the state will use to help keep I-696 in shape until Spring.