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A man drove through a part of the Interstate 75 bridge construction site Sunday night, narrowly averting a potentially life-threatening accident while causing $50,000 in damage and other costs, an MDOT official said Tuesday.

The incident occurred early Sunday on the southbound section of I-75 at Springwells Street which is under repair. The driver of an SUV drove through construction barrels and onto the closed section of the bridge.

The incident, which occurred around 5:30 a.m., closed traffic on northbound I-75 at Schaefer.

The spokesman for Michigan State Police said the driver was arrested for driving under the influence. The driver’s blood was drawn as part of the investigation into the incident.

Diane Cross, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said Tuesday the driver drove past a security guard who thought the driver was part of the construction crew and got onto the bridge, which is supported by sheet metal and plywood.

Parts of the sheeting was damaged during the incident and will have to be replaced. A crane had to be brought in to remove the vehicle from the bridge.

Cross said the incident could have been more serious because the driver went onto the bridge at a time when construction crews normally would have been working and he could have hurt one of them or the security guard.

“He drove quite a long way,” said Cross. “He flew over multiple sections of the bridge and landed. He could have flipped over or gone over the security guard rail onto the ground below.”

The bridge construction is part of the expansive $165 million bridge overhaul that involves removing and replacing the entire concrete surface on the dilapidated I-75 bridge that crosses the Rouge River. Completion of the bridge upgrade project is scheduled for October 2018.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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