Semi crash ties up I-196 for hours

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – If your afternoon commute takes you west out of Grand Rapids, you faced a real headache Wednesday afternoon.

A semi-truck crash shut down westbound I-196 between US-131 and Lake Michigan Drive NW just after 12 p.m.

The truck driver told police he hit a slick spot in the road and began to slide.

He missed hitting any other vehicles and avoided serious injuries to himself, but the truck ended up perched over the embankment on the side of the highway between Bridge Street NW and Valley Avenue NW.

That was just the beginning of the problems.

Seventy-five to 150 gallons of diesel spilled from the truck’s fuel tanks. That, mixed with the wet pavement, created a major road hazard.

Kent County Road Commission crews put down sand to absorb the diesel. Hazardous material cleanup workers used a vacuum truck to sweep up the diesel-soaked sand.

Then, crews went to work on the truck.

It took two heavy-duty wreckers to yank the truck off the side of the road. But portions of the guardrail were caught underneath the rig, and road crews had to use a torch to take those sections of the rail out, piece by piece.

A couple of hours into the efforts, and crews finally began to move the truck.

Nearly four hours after the mishap, traffic was once again moving in the westbound lanes of the highway.

The truck is registered to a company out of Omaha, Neb. The name Nash Finch on the side of the truck suggests it was hauling merchandise for Spartan Stores.


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