Hwy 101 in Burlingame to close overnight for power line repairs

Byby Cornell Barnard and Sergio Quintana KGO logo
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Hwy 101 reopens after 17 hour shutdown, but repair crews still at work
The Highway 101 freeway frustration for drivers also meant a slow Saturday for local businesses.

BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- U.S. Highway 101 will close again Sunday night in Burlingame while utility crews replace damaged power lines after a construction accident Friday night left an electrical tower seriously damaged.

PG&E announced all lanes of Highway 101 in Burlingame will be closed on Sunday, August 30, at 10 p.m. until Monday, August 31, until 4 a.m. to restring and re-energize the power lines.

Around 9:30 p.m. Friday, an excavator crashed into a transmission tower, leaving high voltage lines blocking the northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 101 near Broadway.

The highway remained closed Friday night and Saturday morning, but reopened Saturday afternoon.

The following alternate routes are recommended:

Northbound: SR-92 W/B to I-280 N/B to I-380 E/B to US-101

Southbound: I-380 W/B to I-280 S/B to SR-92 E/B to US-101

Motorists are advised to avoid using city streets as detours as they may quickly become congested.

The Broadway overpass will also remain closed until Monday to accommodate for the repairs. This includes the Broadway and the Anza Blvd exits.

PHOTOS: Transmission tower collapse closes Highway 101 in Burlingame

PG&E crews made good progress on Saturday to remove the power lines across freeway and crumpled transmission tower. There was never a large scale power outage in the area because electricity was rerouted to other lines, according to PG&E.

That closure had some motorists stranded for hours. Harsha Reddy was late for a flight to India leaving from SFO. "We needed to be there 15 mins ago, it's bad," said Reddy on Saturday afternoon.

The freeway frustration for drivers also meant a slow Saturday for local businesses.

As drivers took surface streets to get around the freeway shutdown, traffic snarled through local streets. As s result, a lot of neighbors who would usually make it out for breakfast or shopping, couldn't get into to town, or just stayed home.

"Usually on Saturdays we're pretty busy from the time that we open, usually we'll have people waiting at the door. We didn't today," said Irene Preston, who owns Preston's Candy and Ice Cream.

Despite the inconveniences, officials are thankful there were no injuries.

"We were able to get everyone off the freeway safely, we were able to make the area safe and remove the wires impacted," said PG&E spokesperson Donald Cutler.

PG&E says a third-party construction crew, JAFEC LTD., struck the transmission tower causing high-powered transmission lines to fall onto the highway. Traffic was stopped for over six hours until PG&E could de-energize the lines and safely move drivers out of the way.

Caltrans spokesperson Bob Haus says the incident is still under investigation.

CHP Public Information Ofc. Art Montiel said the holdup on Friday night was due to PG&E waiting for special equipment to arrive to move the cables and make sure the structure was safe.

The construction project that crews were working on is one that is jointly shared by Caltrans and San Mateo County.