DAVIS COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A large power line falling onto the I-15 caused a massive traffic jam in Centerville on Monday morning, setting people back over an hour to get to work.
Bountiful City Power said the rain caused a fire. How does that happen?
The precipitation on the wood pole directed the electricity to it, setting the wood on fire. Thankfully northbound and southbound traffic reopened, but that powerline fall was just the first in a chain reaction of incidents causing the major traffic jam.
“When that powerline was down, we had a train hit it and we also had a semi hit it that was heading southbound,” said Sgt. Roy Carlson with Utah Highway Patrol (UHP).
From there, things got even worse.
“After the semi hit it, it rolled and was blocking all lanes of traffic southbound,” said Carlson.
The semi-truck filled with produce crashed into the median and overturned, spilling food and gas while sending concrete debris into the northbound lanes, according to UHP.
“There were six cars that were damaged from the debris,” Carlson said.
Both the I-15 northbound and southbound lanes in Centerville were initially shut down.
Northbound lanes opened up quickly afterward, but southbound traffic had to wait much longer for things to clear up.
“It’s taken five hours, pretty much,” said UHP. Officials said the traffic stretched over eight miles back at one point.
Drivers who were caught in the congestion said the traffic felt like a parking lot.
“I couldn’t even get on the freeway there were back-to-back cars going five miles per hour, it was insane,” said Claire Taylor, a driver stuck in the traffic.
A commute taking 15 minutes stretched to about an hour, according to drivers.
One driver said it took him 45 minutes just to get from Layton to Centerville on his commute to Salt Lake.
“I mean it usually takes me 25 minutes total, but I’m not even halfway,” said Chase Mounteer, a driver stuck in traffic.
UHP said if you come across a power line on the road, you should stop, turn your hazard lights on, call 911, but do not drive across it.
“You never know if it’s still live or not, so just be careful out there when lines are down,” said Carlson.