I-80/94 closed for hours in NW Indiana due to downed power lines

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NIPSCO said a power line was compromised by weather elements Wednesday, causing the pole to snap and lines to fall down across I-80/94 in northwest Indiana. (WLS)

NIPSCO officials said a power line was compromised by weather elements Wednesday morning, causing the pole to snap and lines to fall down across I-80/94 in northwest Indiana.

I-80/94 was shut down in both directions at Chase Street around 8:30 a.m., Indiana State Police said. By 11 a.m., there were still miles of delays in both directions. Some drivers were stuck for hours. All lanes re-opened around 1:15 p.m.

PHOTOS: Power lines down across I-80/94

A NIPSCO spokesperson originally said a car struck a pole on the north side of the interstate, causing the lines to come down. Further investigation showed an insulator failed due to weather, dropping a power line onto the roadway. Investigators believe a driver caught the downed line, dragging it down the road and causing the power line pole to break. A portion of the pole was still smoking on the ground around 11 a.m.

Crews from the power company turned off all power in the area. They de-energized the lines and grounded electricity on both sides of the interstate to safely unhook the lines from the pole and remove them from the road. NIPSCO workers plan to return to the scene Wednesday evening to replace the broken pole with a new 75-foot pole. State police said replacing the pole should not affect traffic at that time.

About 5,000 NIPSCO customers lost power in Gary and Hammond Wednesday morning. Crews were able to restore power to all but 40 of those customers by 12:15 p.m.

"I heard a pop. Then my husband said, 'What's wrong?' I said, 'We ain't got no electricity.' Then by the time he said that, it popped back on and went back off and never came back on no more," said Shirley Wilson, who lives in Gary.

"It's just bad. The traffic out here is bad. People stuck in the middle of the road. It's just bad right now, for them," said Robert Wilson, Shirley's husband.

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traffictraffic delaypower outageGary
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