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Some lanes of I-75 could be closed until August after massive tanker fire & explosion

Posted at 5:23 AM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 17:23:49-04

(WXYZ) — One lane on southbound I-75 reopened at Big Beaver on Tuesday night, a day after a massive tanker explosion shut down the highway for more than 24 hours. And on Wednesday, the right lane of northbound I-75 also reopened at Big Beaver Road, but remaining lanes could be closed for days and possibly weeks while the area undergoes repairs.

"The heat and intensity of the fire has rendered a lot of this pavement unsafe," MDOT Spokesman Rob Morosi said.

The tanker caught fire after the driver lost control around the bend near Big Beaver Rd. The driver escaped with minor injuries.

The damage to the highway has made MDOT question the durability of the pavement, and they're looking at at least two weeks of rebuilding.
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"So right now, we don't foresee a couple lanes opening probably until the early part of August," Morosi said.

Morosi did say the median wall did its job, keeping the tanker from crossing over to the other side of the freeway. But, he says, it's been scorched to the point that it can be flaked off.

That means that in addition to the lanes, there are 600 feet of wall crews are working to repair.

"What we want to do is open the freeway so people driving from the north and south don't have to get off on the freeway onto the local road system," Morosi said. "However, the people in the local communities here we really strongly suggest they use the local roads because we're going to limit the access to the freeway."

Crews are also soil testing to see how far down contaminants went, and any contamination will have to be removed.