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Posted on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:43 a.m.

M-14 closed at Barton Drive near Ann Arbor; US-23 also affected

By Paula Gardner

This story has been updated; see below.

An Ann Arbor-area highway was closed in both directions after a truck rollover Friday morning resulted in a possible hazardous materials spill.


The cleared M-14 exit near Barton Drive is a contrast to the backups in the opposite direction on Friday morning.

Christofer Machniak | MLiveMediaGroup

M-14 was closed to both eastbound and westbound traffic at Barton Drive after the 7:30 a.m. crash, according to the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

As a result, westbound M-14 traffic was being diverted to northbound US-23.

Southbound traffic on US-23 had found that the highway was closed at North Territorial Road, between Brighton and Ann Arbor - but that route was reopened just after 11 a.m.

Eastbound M-14 traffic is being routed off of the highway at Barton Drive.

Derrick Jackson, director of community engagement for the sheriff’s office, said the Michigan State Police is supervising the scene. Jackson said a cleanup crew was sent out as a precautionary measure since officials couldn't immediately identify was being transported in the truck. Jackson said the driver is “alert and moving around” and the rollover may have been a one-vehicle accident.

Update as of 11:10 a.m.:

At 7:25 a.m., a semi flatbed truck carrying a train car full of benzene dicarboxylic acid spilled on westbound M-14 near Barton Drive. Officials are saying the acid does not pose a danger to any residents in the area. It is used in the manufacture of food and beverage plastics, dyes, perfumes and medicines. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Ann Arbor Township Fire and the Washtenaw County HazMat team are cleaning up the spill. Sand trucks are being used to absorb the material at this time. The Huron Valley Ambulance sent its hazmat medical support team, Mobile Operations Center and one paramedic unit to assist.

Updated at 11:46 a.m.:

From the Michigan State Police: Southbound US-23 is now open to eastbound M-14 - all traffic will be funneled to eastbound M-14, where the drivers can then head east to I-275 or south on US-23 to I-94.

Updated at 12:46 p.m.: One tow company worker was physically exposed to the acid product - it splashed on him when he dropped a piece of equipment in a standing pool of product. He was decontaminated by the Washtenaw HAZMET Team and was transported to U of M hospital as a precaution. Westbound M-14 remains closed at US-23.

Updated at 4:15 p.m.: The tow company worker was treated at the scene after exposure to the acid product but refused transport to U of M hospital according to HVA spokeswoman Joyce Williams. The driver of the truck was transported in an HVA ambulance shortly after the crash. He was in stable condition.

View 2012 Washtenaw County Traffic Reports in a larger map



Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Wow, only in Ann Arbor can a rollover semi be blamed on Republicans and Rick Snyder. I'm sure they kidnaped the Lindbergh baby as well.


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

I think they did. But then again that one is also under investigation as well.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

The cleanup will last a few more hours. We're updating that now, thanks to new information from police. We do not know the size of the spill. No one is claiming the chemical is safe - it's simply not posing a risk to people who live near the spill, police said.

Ann English

Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

People who live near the spill are on the east side of Whitmore Lake Road OR at the dead end of western Dhu Varren Road. Or possibly even on Dhu Varren Circle.


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Goes without saying.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Also for those of you trying to link it to the increased speed limit, I don't believe that it's on the section where the limit actually changed.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

I had the misfortune today of needing to go to Brighton (always a misfortune) and got caught up in the traffic on the way up (I escaped onto the dirt roads and got back on 23 at 6-mile). I was pretty surprised to see it still closed on the way back a half-hour ago. NB 23/14 is still a parking lot, and now they also have a fully-flaming vehicle on the shoulder. SB 23 was slowed due to a fender-bender no doubt related to rubbernecking. Seems like a long time for the clean-up.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

I just got off the madness. Took over 2 hrs just to get to an exit!!!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Just an FYI on the actual location of the roll-over as the map dot is incorrect. The semi is on M-14 west, at the ramp/curve as it merges with those coming from US-23 south going to M-14 west. M-14 east is closed from downtown access because as you approach the US-23 north, M-14 east split you become close to the incident. Also why US-23 south is closed from going west on M-14. Luckily I skated into work before it all closed down and saw the semi as I passed the converging ramp/traffic. IMHO, the increased speed on M-14 in the downtown area has greatly improved traffic flow to barton and down exits. I've commuted this area for years. The problem with area is US-23 and the looky loos at the fender benders and the fender benders themselves. Stop texting!

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

That is a nasty plasticizer and I wouldn't want to be exposed to the fumes or liquid. How large was the spill?


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

I wish we had a paper with the jounalistic capability and motivation to really investigate what the health effects of benzene dicarboxylic were. According to my 5 minute on-line research this chemical is a threat to unborn children and to reproductive health. The hazard symbol for this chemical is a skull and cross bones. I can't believe the article's author simply trusted the state police to tell her the chemical was safe. Any chemical with the word benzene in it should raise alarms. I certainly do not trust the current republicon led "business friendly" (corrupt) political environment in a case like this to tell me the facts.


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Especially if you try to ask any questions on anything about what they are making or transporting. Sounds like an investigation to me. Especially if it has anything to do with chemicals.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

If the Ann Arbor Public Schools or another public entity were responsible, might look into those issues. But when it involves a private company? Not a chance. The name of the company (or companies) involved isn't even mentioned.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

From police: The driver sustained fractures to shoulder and ankle and will be admitted to U of M


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Ann Arbor: choked off at both the North and South ends. We may achieve the status (so far a myth-based joke) of isolated nation state after all (the People's Republic of Ann Arbor). And where is all the entrepreneurial nerd-ship to solve these power outages and road closings? I thought Ann Arbor had an inside track with His Republican Lordship, Governor Snyder? Privatize our highway system! That's the ticket! (Oh wait, our electrical system - which goes down every time there's a whiff of bad weather: IS ALREADY "privatized." ) Anyway: I have dibs on the highway toll booth franchise - LOL!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

The tolls will be paid in obama-dollars. Can I have some?


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

haha...truly an Ann Arbor response...make a truck accident political...ya know it's the Governor's fault...he must have been driving....

Bill Sloan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

I wonder why North 23 is backed up well beyond North Territorial? I was finally able to get off there, left turn was jammed, turned right to Nollar to Joy and finally to Whitmore Lake Rd. It took more than two hours to get back to the West Side from St. Joes. Should have taken Plymouth Rd.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Wait a minute: are you telling me that US 23 will be clogged with traffic ON THE ONE DAY I have to go to South Lyon - for the first time since the early 1980s??!! Seriously?!

Angry Moderate

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Take Pontiac Trail


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Whoever advocated for the increased speed limit on that stretch of road should be FIRED or removed from office. This increase has put lives at risk and for what? Stupidity!


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

MDOT. I totally agree with this post.

Kate Jones

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

It would be awesome if the State Trooper who is sitting in his car blocking M-14 would put his flashers on as myself and a whole line of cars came to a screeching halt and almost cause another accident!

Ann English

Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Doesn't that make you wish that police cars had flashing lights installed in SEVERAL places on their vehicles like fire engines and ambulances do?


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

So where exactly is this accident? The information presented on the local radio and the information presented here don't really indicate where it is. What I understand at this time is the traffic on SB US is being diverted off at N. Territorial Rd. If this accident is where the map indicates it is, why would they close US-23 there and not just send traffic across M-14 EB to Plymouth Rd (close off M-14 only), rather than closing the expressway completely. The other thing that doesn't make sense is M-14 being closed at Barton Drive both directions. EB M-14 being closed there would indicate the accident is farther up the hill towards the interchange, which would support having US-23 closed at N. Territorial. This would also be supported by M-14 WB being closed where it splits from US-23.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

I would love it if this whole interchange were re-done in a safer manner.

Ann English

Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

Chapmaja, When the Ann Arbor News covered the Barton Drive hairpin turn problem, they never suggested any clear solutions like you do; if I could get on eastbound M-14 from an entrance ramp off Pontiac Trail, I wouldn't have to wait for up to three lanes of oncoming traffic to clear, like I have to do from Barton Drive. Youwhine, I figure that Skydale residents complained about the proposal of having Huron Parkway running through their neighborhood, if not Manor Drive residents.


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Thanks for the history. I know Ann Arbor has tried everything to get that ramp closed and something else put in. As for the neighbors? Not in my neighborhood. Ann Arbor needs to get a backbone and put the new ramp in. Too bad neighbors it has to be done. I hope maybe this might be an eye opener.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

The Barton ramps were temporary when they were first built. The original idea was that Huron parkway would be extended, cross over Pontiac tr. and connect with 14 just east of the Barton ramps. There was a "greenway" of undeveloped space left in the neighbirhoods for Huron Pkwy to run through. In true Ann Arbor fashion a few residents decided they didn't want a road (which had been planned prior to their homes being built) put in near them. They became a squeaky wheel and thousands of other people are now put at risk everyday by having to navigate the 14/Barton interchange.

the leprachaun

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

It two bad Ann Arbor has a freeway ordinance only allowing 2 lanes in each direction within city limits. Almost all A2 freeways need 3 lanes.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Here is what I would do if I were in the planning stages for this project. First, I would create an interchange for traffic onto US-23 and M-14 at Pontiac Trail. Here is how I would do that. It would contain the following on ramps. One to US23 NB (entering on right side of US-23/M-14), One to M-14 WB (entering on left side of M-14WB /US-23 NB through the median area) and a joint ramp for traffic entering US-23 SB / M-14 WB. Traffic on the expressway would have one exit from US-23 SB, one from M-14 EB, and one from the joint M-14 WB/US -23. All of this would be controlled by a traffic sensing light system at the interchange to make best use of directional traffic flow conditions to speed traffic through this interchange. Adding a ramp at Pontiac Trail would eliminate the need for the Barton Dr ramps (the only one with a stop sign at the top I've ever seen). I would make the following additional changes to traffic on M-14 at the bridge area in addition to closing the Barton Dr ramp. I would create an exit ramp from M-14 EB to Main St / Huron River Dr. This would allow traffic that current exits at Barton then loops under M-14 before getting on M-14 to cross WB over the bridge to exit at main street a more direct traffic route into Ann Arbor. Finally, I would rework the lanes on M-14 and US-23 in the area to widen them from 2-3 lanes from the eastern edge of the bridge over the river through the interchange. This would basically be a continuation of the on ramp from Main St through the interchange. The biggest change I would make would make to the interchange itself, and to the expressways in the area would be eliminating the ramps going down to a single lane in the interchange and widening the traffic lanes on US-23 NB from 2 to 3 lanes. Extending the widened areas of the ramps and the lanes NB and SB on US 23 would hopefully lower the congestion through the region and up US-23. The biggest bottleneck really is US-23 since it is 2 lanes wide.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

This is a hazardous stretch of road. I can't claim that the cause of this accident was speed (very few facts are available at this time), but I have to wonder if the increased speed limit in this section of M-14 has increased accident rates.


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

They changed the speed on M14? O my. No wonder this truck had his accident. No one should go over 60 on this stretch. Very dangerous area. Glad it was not more worse then it was.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

He was traveling south, the recent speed change on that section of M-14 would have nothing to with where the accident happened.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2 p.m.

I agree and was stunned when they increased it from 55 to 70.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

I totally agree that it needs to be redone. But you can't ignore that there is an elevated level of risk introduced when speed increases. Especially in already problematic stretches of road. While people never really drove 55mph through this turn when the limit was that, at least they weren't cruising through at 80mph like they are now.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I don't think speed has much to do with the accidents on this section of road. I agree with Barb, the entire area needs to be redone. The design of this entire area is the biggest problem, not traffic speed. The design contributes to issues as driver speed (not speed limits) increase.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Could you please tweet this? This is the kind of thing I'd love for you to tweet out as its happening.

Edwin Gustafson

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:09 p.m. delivered me a text message about this at 8:39am. Excellent free service