Safety concerns grow for I-696 drivers after another shattered windshield

Safety concerns are growing for drivers who use Interstate 696 after another piece of concrete wreaked havoc during the morning commute. 

A piece of concrete shattered a woman's windshield on 696 near I-75 Tuesday morning. She was on her way to work around 7:30 a.m. when it came crashing through her window in the westbound lanes.

It didn't happen near an overpass, so she thinks a large piece of crumbling pavement got kicked up. MDOT says the concrete went through her windshield after a truck went around her car. 
The woman managed to keep control of her car and took the next freeway exit. She says the chunk landed in her passenger seat. 

Michigan State Police are investigating.

That's the second time this month concrete has smashed through a driver's windshield. 

Earlier in January, it happened to a South Lyon man as he was driving on 696 through Oak Park. It happened when he was near the Evergreen Road overpass. He, too, was able to pull over safely. 

Last spring, three other vehicles were also hit by falling concrete. One woman was critically injured

MDOT says they're aware the 40-year-old freeway is in bad shape, and knows the continuous freeze-thaw cycle happening lately is making things worse. 

"MDOT folks, every one of us, we use the same roads. We're scared to drive for ourselves and our families, too," says MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross.

A big repair project for I-696 is planned to begin in the spring in Macomb County. Major construction repairs are also planned in Oakland County. 

In the meantime, Cross urges everyone to drive defensively.

"Pay attention to the road. Watch ahead if there's a pothole. Drive to the speed of the road conditions, just like a snowstorm type of situation," she says. "Keep both hands on the wheel so you can control your vehicle if you do hit something like that."