One driver pulled off to the side of the freeway soon turned into several and then almost a dozen vehicles dealing with flat tires after a gigantic crack on I-696 opened up in Oakland County on Wednesday morning.
Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross told WWJ’s Luke Sloan that a large “longitudinal gap” in the eastbound lanes near Orchard Lake Road caused quite the headache for drivers on their morning commute.
So much debris littered the roadway that earlier reports claimed the overpass was crumbling and falling onto the freeway.
But there is nothing wrong with the bridge, Sloan said. Instead, a “super pothole” was to blame.
“The seam between the patches of concrete on the highway crumbled and as more cars ran over that concrete, it pulled more concrete up onto the roadway,” Sloan reported. “At least ten cars ran through that concrete and got flat tires, but MDOT says there could be more after they last checked in.”
The pothole was addressed by roadcrews and quickly repaired. No further issues were reported, but Cross said I-696 in Oakland County is old and plans are in place to tear up and repave the section.
Otherwise, the potholes will keep coming back.
“That is part of why we are reconstructing this road because it reaches the end of its lifespan and this is what starts to happen,” Cross explained.
“The road is starting to crumble a bit and we’ve patched for many years in this whole stretch, but now it’s time to totally rebuild and reconstruct the roadway so that we get brand new pavement so we don’t have this issue of the road coming up and then drivers driving over chunks on concrete”
Cross added that more roadcrews will head out after the morning commute to make sure no other problem spots arise.
Construction to completely repair I-696 is not slated until at least March.
This article originally appeared in WWJ. For more, click here.