Accident Prone I-94 Between Galesburg and Kalamazoo Accurately Described as ‘War Zone’
Sure, commuting is stressful. We know we should be kind and let the next person in when they're merging, or allow someone to pass a slower semi. But there just seems to be something about the stretch of I-94 between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, specifically the Galesburg area, that inflames passion and rage.
This infamous stretch of highway is responsible for one of the most horrific and memorable pile-ups in Michigan history, a 193-vehicle disaster during winter 2015.
I've always speculated the source of aggravation and aggression is this short, but a chaotic stretch of 2-lane pavement. Travellers, particularly from the west are cruising three lanes through much of Kalamazoo and then are throttled down to two. While transportation officials say the two lanes in each direction are sufficient for the number of vehicles, it just doesn't ring true for me.
Earlier today (September 14), the stretch of I-94 near Galesburg was scene of yet another multi-vechile crash blamed on a downburst of rain. It was reported on the Road Reports 94 - 131 Kalamazoo Battle Creek Grand Rapids St Joseph Facebook group. Many commenters shared the sentiments I carry about that stretch of road:
- Much rather not drive that section of highway at all costs.
- What is it about this particular area having so many weather related accidents?!
- The highway war zone
War zone, indeed.
Studies find, however, that this stretch of I-94 is not actually the worst in the area for crashes, particularly in winter. It's further west along the interstate through Van Buren County around Paw Paw, Lawrence and Harford that ranks as the worst in the state, with the most crashes per vehicle mile travelled. Sure it's the snowbelt and all that lake effect off of Lake Michigan, but it's also a quirk of geography. There's an incline between Mattawan and Oshtemo - the highest rise of elevation anywhere along I-94 in Michigan. That change of terrain allows the snow to bunch up and dump on Van Buren County.
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