Michigan Department of Transportation attributes cause of I-94 flooding to power failure

Agency pushing back hard against perception that its pumps failed

MDOT: Power failure caused I-94 flooding

DETROIT – The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is attributing the cause of the I-94 flooding to power failure.

DTE had an outage in the area at the worse possible time, according to the agency.

More: Metro Detroit floods: How to get help

There was still a mile of water on I-94 on Monday evening in Detroit. MDOT has dozens of pumping stations along Metro Detroit freeways because most highways were built below grade. But MDOT is telling the Local 4 Defenders that they are pushing back hard against the perception that the agency’s pumps failed.

MDOT says the pumps did not fail. Here’s what happened.

“The pump houses did not fail during this storm, the failure was getting power to the pump houses, and unfortunately the storms that came in Thursday and Friday, they took out power and that is what we need in order to make those pump houses pull the water out of those low lying freeways,” said Dianne Cross with MDOT.

Related: Red Cross providing assistance to flood victims in Metro Detroit

In fact, a look at the DTE outage map Monday showed outages all along I-94. With no power MDOT got generators out to some pump houses to get them up and running.

The problem?

The water being pumped off the freeway had no place to go.

The Local 4 Defenders asked DTE: With power out and pumps not working, isn’t there an emergency effort to get the power and pumps back on?

DTE officials say the power outages are under investigation, and provided the following statement:

“Two DTE substations in the Dearborn and Southwest Detroit areas sustained extensive damage from the heavy rains and resulting flooding that occurred overnight Friday into Saturday morning. The flooding in the substations left equipment inoperable, resulting in outages for approximately 12,000 customers.

“Our teams have been working around the clock to assess damage at each of the substations and to develop restoration plans. Approximately 75% of the customers impacted by the substation outages have been restored.

“Restoring all of our customers is our priority. We’re working to deploy mobile generators in surrounding neighborhoods to get power back until repairs at the substations are complete. We expect to have the majority of the remaining customers restored by later this evening.

“We know being without power is frustrating, and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding.”

DTE Energy

Wayne County Commissioner Ray Basham is not happy about the pumps or the pointing of fingers.

Basham asked, “Why point fingers? Why don’t we have a generator system? Why don’t we sit down and fix it?”

Read: Metro Detroit neighborhoods impacted by floods, State of Emergency declared

MORE: Check out these photos of major flooding across Metro Detroit

WATCH MORE: Freeway flooding blamed on power failure to pumps -- What can be done?

Freeway flooding blamed on power failure to pumps -- What can be done?

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.