A private-public partnership stemming from a tragic accident has led to the installation of a new guardrail in eastern Ingham County.

The Michigan Department of Transportation has completed construction on 1.7 miles of median cable guardrail along I-96 near Dietz Road and Williamston. The $300,000 project is the result of a unique relationship between MDOT and the Kiefer Foundation. In September 2016, the foundation’s namesake Mitchel Kiefer, lost his life when his vehicle was struck from behind by a distracted driver and pushed across the median into oncoming traffic. Kiefer was then hit by a truck and passed away on the scene. The Kiefer Foundation has paid for half the cost of installing the new guardrail.

State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle said that this is the first time in his 12 years on the job that he has seen private money invested towards a safety feature on a highway. According to MDOT, cable median guardrails reduce cross-median crashes by 87% and are part of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths safety initiative. A video highlighting the project and partnership can be found through the link below. More information on the Kiefer Foundation can be found at www.mkiefer.org (MK)