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PROVO — A bizarre traffic mishap on I-15 in Utah County Thursday snarled traffic during the evening rush hour. Provo city officials said a semitrailer clipped a dead overhead power line, causing it to fall across all lanes of traffic.
Just after 5 p.m., Provo Power crews were finishing up work related to the expansion of I-15 when, according to Provo City Deputy Mayor Corey Norman, a power pole shifted the wrong way.
"(That) caused a sagging line, which was at least far enough down that a high-profile vehicle came and clipped it," Norman said. "One of the vehicles following the semi grabbed hold of it and snapped it."
The result: a freeway closure and miles of rush-hour commuters parked on I-15 for a full 20 minutes.
"We were going to do this at 4:00 in the morning. Unfortunately, this happened during rush hour," Norman said.
Even after the line was cleared and the freeway was reopened, both northbound and southbound delays extended for quite a while.
According to Norman, Provo Power already buried its active power lines under the interstate during construction on the I-15 CORE project. Crews had planned to remove these powerless old lines from over the interstate Sunday when traffic is light, he said.
Provo Power plans to remove the rest of the old power lines this weekend.