Downed lines block Route 202

July 28, 2008 4:15:34 PM PDT
It happened at the height of rush hour just after 8 this morning. Busy Route 202 near the sprawling Great Valley Corporate Center was shut down in both directions for almost four hours. It was a major disruption for thousands of commuters, thanks to a crane.

It snared a 19,000 volt power line stretching across the highway that arced and burned when it hit another line.

East Whiteland Township police officer Tricia Doyle-Logic said, "The wire is held up by just two strands, so that's why we had to shut down the road in order to protect the people below."

It took PECO crews two hours to get to the scene. They, too, were trapped in traffic, until they got a police escort. In the meantime, thousands of commuters were trapped.

Ed Serafino from Chester, Pa. was among the masses stuck. "It took two hours to go twelve miles. The trip normally takes 30 minutes. I missed two meetings." Marilyn Rothberg lives five minutes down the road.

"I started out 50 minutes ago and I just didn't look. I went on to 202 and said 'Oh my goodness', and I've been sitting ever since, for 50 minutes."

The PECO crews worked to splice the damaged wire back together and restore power to customers in the area.

The construction work is part of the ongoing widening of 202.

The boom of the crane swung over into the power lines after the operator got out of the cab.

Police say the operator claims he set the boom brake before getting out and that it must have malfunctioned.

The crane will not be moved until it is checked for mechanical problems.

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