UPDATE: I-94 cleanup moving along, MDOT hoping only hours remain

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-10 20:48:27-05

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Since the 193 car pileup on I-94 Friday, crews have been working around the clock to get the highway clear and back open.

Early Saturday, crews were optimistic that the cleanup was nearing an end, but the cold temperatures made sure that wouldn’t be the case.

the scene of the pileup early Saturday

the scene of the pileup early Saturday

Besides the sheer size of the pileup, crews are facing a bigger hurdle: a tanker caught in the middle of the wreckage contains Formic Acid, a hazardous material- requiring them to remove the material inside the truck before they pull away the vehicles around it.

Just after 1:00 p.m. Saturday, the pump being used by the “Haz-Mat” team failed- likely because of the cold weather according to officers on scene- and the process of clearing the vehicles was temporarily halted.  Both sides of I-94 remained closed while a new pump truck was brought in.

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 1.46.04 PM

The cold temperature was still “posing problems with the process of transferring the Formic Acid” late Saturday according to MSP

As of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, crews on scene had a working pump and were actively removing the Formic Acid from the tanker.  MDOT workers said they expected the highway to remain closed for at least another 6-8 hours- deep into Saturday evening.

After the process of pumping the remaining Acid from the tanker, remaining vehicle debris still needs to be cleared from the area, at which point MDOT will inspect the roadway to determine it’s damage and potential to re-open.

Battle Creek Police are asking travelers to try and avoid I-94 between mile marker 98 (M-66) and mile marker 92 through the weekend.

FOX 17 continues to have a crew at the scene, and will update this story as new information becomes available.