Downed Wires Cleared From Highway 101 In Millbrae

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MILLBRAE (CBS SF) – Downed telephone wires blocked most northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101 near Millbrae for several hours Thursday during the evening commute, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP received a report of the fallen wires at 2:53 p.m. north of the Broadway exit in Millbrae, CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett said.

Only two of four northbound lanes and just one of the five southbound lanes were open at 3:30 p.m., he said.

Because the wires were hanging over the two rightmost northbound lanes, the CHP restricted those northbound lanes to cars only, Bartlett said. Vehicles that required more clearance, such as big-rigs, were advised to use other lanes.

The CHP issued a Sig-alert at 3:26 p.m., and Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said that alert was canceled at 5:38 p.m., when the lanes reopened.

The cause of the downed lines is still under investigation, according to Redwood City area CHP Officer Art Montiel said, and a report they received suggested that a vehicle might have struck the wires.

Montiel said that the CHP received a call reporting that a flatbed truck might have hit the lines.

“Now that the roadway is open, we are going to focus on finding out what happened,” Montiel said. “We don’t know if the lines were hanging low or if the truck was too high.”

Motorists were advised to use Interstate 280 as an alternate route while crews tried to remedy the situation.

Firefighters, PG&E and AT&T crews, and the CHP responded to the scene, Van Eckhardt said.

“They had everybody out there just in case,” Van Eckhardt said.

Crews worked to right a pole supporting the wires, he said, so that the lines would be lifted out of the path of vehicle traffic.

According to a San Mateo County fire dispatcher, an unknown number of Millbrae firefighters were called to respond at 2:57 p.m.

A PG&E spokeswoman confirmed that the downed wires are telephone wires, not PG&E power lines.

An AT&T representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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