Open road delights I-94 drivers

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Dearborn — Drivers were delighted that a section of Interstate 94 near Wyoming that was closed last week for repairs after a fiery crash reopened over the weekend.

The state transportation department had vowed to get things moving by Monday and bring an end to worries about commutes. Eastbound lanes, which closed Wednesday, reopened Saturday, 36 hours ahead of schedule after repairs were made to the pavement from damage caused by a tanker fire.

The reopened freeway was welcomed news Sunday for Michael McNulty. He works in security at a Ford dealership on Michigan Avenue, and the closure meant a longer commute to get home to Eastpointe.

“This caused a lot of problems for a lot of people,” said McNulty, who said he had to alter his route home.

“I’m glad,” said Lora Walker on Sunday. “I always take it coming back from the airport after dropping my daughters off when they come home to visit.”

For Eladio Colon, the inconvenience of having to take Michigan Avenue east was a small one.

“It wasn’t that bad,” said Colon on Sunday at a BP station on Michigan Avenue at Wyoming. “Sometime you just have to work with the state of Michigan.”

The freeway had been completely closed in Dearborn east from the Southfield Freeway to Warren.

“MDOT crews have been working 24 hours a day since it happened,” said Diane Cross, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. “It is such an important route so we pulled out all the stops.”

On Wednesday, a wall of fire from the exploding gas tanker damaged the freeway’s eastbound pavement between U.S. 12 and Wyoming Avenue. The driver suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Environmental crews also had to clean thousands of gallons of gasoline out of the freeway’s underground drainage system and pump houses.

It was the second time in less than a year that the part of the freeway was damaged. The right shoulder of the freeway at Warren Avenue was seriously damaged in August 2014 flooding.

Detroit News Staff Writer Ursula Watson contributed.