ROMULUS (WWJ) – Officials say it could take hours to clean up a fuel spill after a tanker crashed off I-94 near Detroit Metro Airport.
The accident happened just after 12 a.m. Wednesday on westbound I-94 on the exit ramp for Middle Belt and Merriman roads in Romulus, according to Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Diane Cross.
“The exit ramps on I-94 westbound — when people are exiting to the airport, you can exit to Middle Belt and Merriman — unfortunately, that is now closed because we had a tanker roll over off this ramp into the grassy, marshy area off the side of the road,” said Cross.
Romulus Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Krause said the tanker was hauling fuel, which spilled from the truck after the crash.
“The tanker was carrying 7,500 gallons of regular fuel, it just finished topping off at one of our local filling facilities,” he said. “We anticipate that there’s approximately 1,000 to 1,500 gallons spilled prior to us being able to stop the spill.”
Krause said the driver was rescued from the tanker and taken to a local hospital where he was last reported in stable condition.
The freeway remains open but those exit ramps are closed because some of the fuel spilled into the sewer system.
“The reason why the roadways are shut down in the area at this time is to eliminate as best as possible any ignition sources that may come in contact with those vapors,” said Krause.
Crash scene cleanup will likely take several hours, until around noon.
“Traffic is still able to use I-94 westbound. Obviously, once traffic starts picking up, we’re probably going to have slow downs because people are going to be looking over to their right at all the crash stuff going on,” said Cross.
If you have to drive through the area, your best bet is to take a detour.
“If you’re going to the airport, you maybe want to head further west on I-94 to I-275, exit that way on the freeway,” said Cross. “Or, the locals will know, using Vining and Wayne roads to also get off, turn around and go eastbound on I-94.”