South Illinois Avenue is expected to re-open by midnight near the University of Tennessee Arboretum after being closed for more than two days because a large high-voltage transmission tower was knocked over near the road in a crash on Friday. The road re-opening is expected to occur before the Monday morning commute.
Power is still out for a small southeast portion of the city near the crash site, including the University of Tennessee Arboretum, the City of Oak Ridge said Sunday evening.
The single-vehicle crash into the Tennessee Valley Authority steel lattice transmission tower was reported at Union Valley Road at about 4:15 p.m. Friday. That section of the four-lane road, also known as State Route 62 and Pellissippi Parkway, has been closed since shortly after the crash. The road is the main connection between Oak Ridge, Knox County, and Knoxville.
TVA and the Oak Ridge Electric Department worked over the weekend to replace the damaged transmission tower, which carries TVA and Oak Ridge power lines. The repair crews had help from the Oak Ridge Police Department and Oak Ridge Public Works Department. It was a complex emergency repair, the City of Oak Ridge said.
“While the roadway will re-open late tonight, drivers should still be cautious and prepared for delays and detours around equipment while crews continue to work off the road,” the city said.
The crash injured three people and caused widespread electrical outages, with many residents and businesses temporarily losing power. It’s not clear what caused the crash. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating.
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.