OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The intersection of South Illinois Avenue and Union Valley Road is expected to reopen by midnight, ahead of the Monday morning commute. The roadway has been closed since Friday afternoon after a truck crashed into a TVA transmission tower, causing the highway to be impassable.
TVA and Oak Ridge Electric crews worked hand-in-hand with the help of the Oak Ridge Police Department and Public Works Department to maintain a safe work environment while the very complex emergency repair was conducted over the weekend.
While the roadway will reopen late tonight, drivers should still be cautious and prepared for delays and detours around equipment while crews continue to work off the road.
Power remains out for a small southeast portion of the City near the site of the crash, including the University of Tennessee Arboretum.
The crash, which happened just before 4:30 p.m. Friday, caused widespread outages across the City. Electric crews were able to get power restored for a majority of the City within a few hours, with the exception of that small southeast part of the City.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is leading the crash investigation.
The following update on the roadway is from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA): Late this afternoon, a Chevy 2500 towing a skid steer ran off of Highway 62 in Oak Ridge at the S. Illinois Avenue and Union Valley Road intersection and damaged a TVA transmission structure (pictures below). The highway is impassable, as the transmission structure is hanging partially above the roadway and the transmission lines are across the road and too low for vehicle clearance. The line is de-energized. Additional structures were damaged during the incident.
TVA transmission crews and TVA Police officers are on scene. We appreciate the City of Oak Ridge for their assistance with traffic control during this event and appreciate our partnership with the Oak Ridge Electric Department. TVA is securing contract traffic control services that will be onsite tomorrow morning.
TVA crews are currently removing the damaged structure and completing the engineering necessary to make repairs.
Traffic is currently backed up for miles and drivers are being redirected at this time.
The outage happened just before 4:30 p.m. Friday. Crews are working to get power back up and running as soon as possible and expect power to be restored by 7:30 p.m. with the exception of the far southeast corner of the city, which may take more time.
City of Oak Ridge Electric Department phone lines have been affected by the outage.
The driver of the truck involved in the crash and its passenger are suffering from injuries that were not life-threatening. Both were transported to local hospitals.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is leading the investigation.