I hope you weren’t one of the people who was caught up in the M59 road closure this morning. It started from a truck that hit a power wire hanging low across the freeway at about 0250 this morning. We moved as quickly as possible to notify as many people as we could. Of course we talked to the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Road commission for Oakland County, DTE, Chrysler, Oakland University(large commuter populations). We sent out media information and on Twitter (@AHPOLICE) and NIXLE. We wanted you to know that the road had to be closed so that you could consider a different route to where you needed to go that didn’t include that stretch of M59.
Since early this morning our sergeant has been a participant in a command post that includes MDOT, RCOC, DTE and ITC (the power line company). Their job is to coordinate what to do that fixes the problem but disrupts the least number of people. We have trained with MDOT and RCOC for just this kind of thing–a program called Traffic Incident Management or Highway Incident Management. It is called up whenever there is a major event or incident causing an impact to the roadway system. The idea has been around for a while and is used in many other states. It brings together the people and entities charged with management of the roadway system as well as the resources needed to fix the problem. Those big freeway signs and the MI DRIVE are all part of this system. In this case we had to consider what works for the road users as well as for the people who are without power as a result of the incident.
We expect that we will be able to open the freeway shortly although it will have to be closed at some future point soon to restring the wire. Most likely after rush hour. I know that restoration of power to residents and businesses is another high priority for which contingent plans are being made right now. Stay tuned to your local media outlet or our social media for updates.
We practice this kind of thing on a regular basis. On days like today our training pays off.