Massive repairs continue after I-75 tanker explosion

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Photo by Hannah Saunders

Massive repairs are needed after an early morning tanker crash and fire on I-75 in Lincoln Park.

On northbound I-75 all lanes are expected to close for at least a week following the explosion Thursday morning.

Late in the afternoon the tanker was removed but all three lanes of concrete need to be replaced. At the earliest it would reopen Monday according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The driver, a 53-year-old man from Corrigan Oil in Brighton, is in critical condition with burns on 80 to 90 percent of his body.

A series of explosions jolted the families near Outer Drive, out of their beds, and into their cars.

"Initially I thought there was something exploding," said Michelle Maloney. "A building of some sort, or a really close fire. So my first thought was to get the kids out of the house."

"We looked out the window and there's a huge massive fire," said Seth Maloney. "I've actually never seen anything like it."

The fuel destroyed the concrete on all lanes, the median, and a ramp.

"The concrete surface is pretty much incinerated," said Diane Cross of MDOT. "And it's not going to be safe to drive on. I can't take the weight of all the vehicles."

Repairs will take at least a week, closing all lanes of northbound I-75 between Outer Drive and Southfield.

"The drivers at Southfield, you get off, you go east to Ford Street, north to Outer Drive, and you can get back on 75," Cross said.

MDOT says the detour is running smoothly and there should only be a longer wait around rush hours.

About 8,000 gallons of fuel spilled but luckily it stayed contained on the freeway. A crew came in and disposed of the fuel keeping a bad situation from becoming much worse.