Downed power lines across Durham Freeway cause eight-hour shutdown

rgallagher@newsobserver.comDecember 13, 2013 

— Police reopened the last lane of the Durham Freeway, N.C. 147, at midday Friday, ending a detour that kept the entire road closed for about seven hours and one lane for longer after power lines fell onto the highway overnight.

Northbound traffic was interrupted from about 4 a.m. until shortly before 11 a.m. Southbound traffic was closed until about 11:30 a.m., when one lane was reopened at South Briggs Avenue.

The detours sent hundreds of cars onto secondary roads, causing bumper-to-bumper backups through much of the morning.

The last obstruction was removed by noon, which was when officials had hoped to have repairs finished.

The power lines fell when a vehicle snagged a cable TV line across Ellis Road at the Freeway interchange, and that broke a utility pole and let the power lines fall, said Duke Energy spokeswoman Catherine Butler.

Before dawn, police had closed the northbound lanes at Ellis Road, but later changed to T.W. Alexander Drive, which can accommodate more traffic.

Southbound was first closed at South Briggs Avenue, then at South Alston.

The lines fell about 3:45 a.m., Butler said.

State Department of Transportation IMAP motorist-assistance trucks and police blocked traffic on the freeway and at access ramps to the closed section.

Duke Energy had reported 1,915 customers without power in Durham County early Friday morning.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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