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Transportation officials make safety suggestions after massive January I-94 pileup

Location of the January, 2015 I-94 pileup involving close to 200 vehicles.
Location of the January, 2015 I-94 pileup involving close to 200 vehicles.

Earlier this year, on January 9, a massive pileup along I-94 involved close to 200 vehicles in eastern Kalamazoo County. One person was killed. Today, federal and state officials released a 94-page report that makes several recommendations to improve many parts of the I-94 corridor, including the area around mile-marker 90 where the crash occurred.

The massive pileup was mainly caused by driver error. An earlier Michigan State Police report found that drivers were traveling too fast for conditions -- conditions that went from clear to near white-out as a storm blew in.

Today's report found that improvements to the highway could help alleviate crashes along the corridor. Part of the report found that the location of cable barriers and guardrails along some sections of I-94, including the section where the crash occurred, left less "bail-out" room for drivers.

These barriers in the median are meant to prevent head-on collisions by keeping cars from crossing into oncoming traffic lanes.

You can see the cable barrier in this video of the pileup:

Officials are recommending the relocation of some of these cable barriers to give drivers more shoulder room.

Other changes -- such as signs that warn drivers about dangerous conditions and planting vegetation to prevent snow drifts -- are recommended as well. More from the report:

Winter Weather Treatments *Environmental sensor stations *Variable speed limits *ITS devices providing weather-related messages *Advanced de-icing strategies *Living snow fence (strategic planting of roadside vegetation) Pavement Surface Treatments *Resurfacing *High friction course Visibility Enhancements *Signing *Pavement markings *Delineation *Lighting Geometric Improvements *Cable barrier relocation *Ramp extension or realignment *Shoulder widening *Increased superelevation Congestion Management *Crash investigation pull-off site *Courtesy patrol *Incident management improvements *ITS devices providing queue warning messages *Add third lane

*Clarification - an earlier version of this story focused too heavily on one recommendation of the report (the relocation of the cable barriers). This story has been updated to reflect the other recommended changes as well.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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