EB I-96 closed at Pleasant Valley after semi crash, overpass to be demolished

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An overpass will need to be demolished in Brighton after it was hit Wednesday by a semi that couldn't make clearance.

The Pleasant Valley Bridge over I-96 will be closed indefinitely as MDOT works to repair the damage. MDOT says it will remove the deck within 24 hours and that is going to make a mess of traffic on the freeway.

A semi-truck with a flatbed trailer caused massive damage to the overpass at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The hydraulics on one of the three lift gates it was hauling, lifting the arm and hitting the bridge on eastbound I-96.

"One of them went across all three lanes and ended up a good, probably, 200 yards past the bridge on the left median side up against the median wall," said Capt. Curt Ruf, Brighton Fire Department. "The other two, just past the bridge on the right median side."

The accident could've been catastrophic but only one car suffered minor damage and amazingly no one was hurt.  Traffic was getting by on the shoulder as MDOT assessed the damage.

"You have four bridge beams that are extensively damaged," said Tom Simpson, MDOT. "The hanger pins are damaged and this whole deck is heaved up, so this whole deck, half of this bridge is going to have to come down."

MDOT may begin work on the bridge Thursday night that will force a closure of eastbound lanes on I-96 until Friday morning.

"During that we will also have probably two lanes of west bound shut down as well," Simpson said.

The accident and looming aftermath smacks of the Eight Mile bridge closure over US-23. A semi-trucks load struck that bridge last year.
It took more than three months to re-open to traffic.

FOX 2: "On a scale of 1 -10 how bad is the damage here?"

"It's a 9 or a 10," Simpson said.

"But luckily with three lift gates that ended up across eastbound I-96 there were zero injuries," Ruf said.

State police issued the driver an over height citation. The bridge is about 14 feet 4 inches and that semi is about 14 feet, 7 inches. That driver could also face a second citation of either damaging the bridge or careless driving.