State orders audit of I-94 following historic January pileup

Governor, MDOT respond to Senator O’Brien’s inquiry

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. – State Senator Margaret O’Brien announced on Friday that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has commissioned a Road Safety Audit for the stretch of Interstate 94 that runs between the Michigan-Indiana border and the city of Jackson.

“I am pleased Governor Snyder has agreed with my recommendation to conduct a Road Safety Audit of Interstate 94,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Residents of Kalamazoo County are concerned about the high number of accidents on the freeway, and as a daily driver of this section of I-94 myself, I agree this historic January 9 accident was more than just driver error.”

The audit comes in response to a letter O’Brien sent to Governor Rick Snyder after the deadly January 9 crash that involved 193 vehicles near Galesburg. The senator requested the administration and MDOT coordinate to complete a study on the eastbound section of the highway where the crash occurred, and offer recommendations on possible changes to the roadway.

The pileup is widely considered to be the worst in the state’s history, but as O’Brien noted in her letter to the governor, the 12 mile stretch of I-94 that runs through Kalamazoo County is particularly dangerous. In 2011, there were 230 accidents; in 2012, there were 222 accidents; and there were 275 accidents in 2013.

O’Brien said it is clear that the road should be examined for improvements to better serve motorists.

“We must ensure that all conditions of a road are considered—the geography of the land, the weather and other factors—when redesigning our roads,” O’Brien said. “I applaud the administration for looking in to this issue and working with both our road agencies and public safety officials to thoroughly study I-94. I am hopeful that an extensive study will offer data-driven solutions and lead to increased safety on our roads.”