I-64 reopens: Power lines jam traffic at Fairview Heights

News-DemocratMarch 17, 2014 

Two power poles snapped on either side of Interstate 64 at Fairview Heights, Ill., dropping lines onto the pavement and closing the highway in both directions. Traffic was detoured using the Illinois 159 ramps, creating a backup for several miles.


Interstate 64 reopened shortly before 1 p.m. Monday after workers cleared power lines that dropped onto the pavement when two poles snapped in Fairview Heights.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported about noon that all lanes, both eastbound and westbound, were closed just east of Illinois 159. Utility poles on either side of the highway were snapped about 50 yards east of the Illinois 159 overpass.

Traffic was backed up for miles on Interstate 64 and jammed on Illinois 159. The traffic did not move for about two hours, except for vehicles that were able to exit onto Illinois 159.

A semi-truck clipped the lines and knocked down the poles just before 11:15 a.m. Monday on an exit ramp from the interstate, according to authorities. Authorities are investigating.

Margaret Herath, who was driving east on I-64, said she stuck in the traffic jam for an hour.

"I was really glad I found some extra Nutri-Grain bars in the car for the boys," said Herath, who was in town for a funeral from Indiana with her 7-year-old boys.

Traffic was detoured onto Illinois 159 by emergency workers, including the Fairview Heights Fire Department.

At 1 p.m. Monday, more than 700 customers were without power near the interchange, according to the Ameren Illinois website. As of 5:30 p.m., 360 residents remained without power.

Lotawata Creek restaurant in Fairview Heights was closed until 4 p.m. Monday due to the power outage, according to employee Essence Bush. The restaurant normally opens at 11 a.m.

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