I-94 still missing cable guardrails from January pile-up

Posted at 5:05 PM, Jul 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-01 22:17:27-04

GALESBURG, Mich. - Nearly six months after the 193-vehicle pile-up near Galesburg, that part of Interstate 94 still isn’t back to normal.  The cable guardrails have not been replaced since the January 9th fiery pile-up. 

According to Nick Schirrepa of the Michigan Department of Transportation, there’s approximately 500 to 600 feet of missing cable guardrail on the eastbound side of I-94.  Schirripa says MDOT can’t begin replacing the cable guardrails until the DEQ completes its clean-up of the soil.  Schirripa expects that to be done sometime next week and then MDOT can start its part, but it will take longer than a normal cable guardrail repair. 

“Normally we just put in new posts, re-string it and we’re done.  It’s a relatively quick process.  But there are at-least a dozen of those sleeves in the ground that have to be pulled out and put in new sleeves and the new concrete and steel so the post will sit in there,” Schirripa told Fox 17 news.   

Cable guardrails were originally put into place across Michigan Highways in 2008, designed to prevent median crossovers and head-on collisions, and according to a study by Wayne State University completed in October, they are working.  The study shows since the installation of median cable guardrails, median crossover rates are down by 87% and rollover crash rates are down more than 50% in Michigan.

In the meantime, Schirripa says that stretch of eastbound I-94 is still safe without its cable guardrail in the rare chance that a car goes through the gap in the cable.  “You’ll hit the backside of the cable on the westbound side, and that’s part of the reason we have that backstop if needed,” according to Schirripa.