Route 228 in Cranberry remains closed through afternoon rush

A second rush hour has arrived and, still, Cranberry's busiest intersection remains shut down.

Route 228 is closed to all traffic at Route 19 near the ramps to and from Interstate 79 in the wake of a storm that left nine utility poles toppled.

Police officers at the scene still have no time frame for even a partial reopening.

Cranberry recovering from storm that closed Route 228

Crews in Cranberry were working today to reopen Route 228 after storm damage forced a road closure due primarily to downed utility poles. (Video by Darrell Sapp; 6/25/2014)

In the meantime, alternate routes to the east of the shutdown are snarled with traffic as workers and patrons of businesses on the highway make their way home.

Jeff Schueler, the township‘‍s public safety director, said a storm that swept through the area Tuesday evening knocked down a utility pole on Route 228 and a "domino effect" followed. Nine poles were down and electric lines were "strewn all over the place," he said.

The National Weather Service estimated this afternoon that winds up to 85 mph caused the damage.

Within the township, all lanes of Route 228 were closed in both directions from Route 19 to Cranberry Woods Drive. All exits from Interstate 79 also are closed.

PennDOT has set up an official detour using Routes 910 and 8. Traffic to the Cranberry Woods office complex -- the headquarters to Westinghouse‘‍s corporate campus -- was also affected.

Chris Eck, a spokesman for Penn Power, said power has been restored to customers.

Crews worked through the night and morning to clean up debris and crews were called in from Ohio and other areas to help out, he said.

"We've got lines down all over. This is going to take a while," Mr. Schueler said. 

Mr. Schueler said utility poles were being delivered to the township this morning but storm debris must be removed before the new poles can be set.

The tough part, Mr. Eck noted, will be installing the new utility poles.

“With the wet ground from the rain, that’s a little more challenging than it might be normally,” he said, “but we have the folks we need to do it. It’s just going to take several hours to get it done.”

Despite the shutdown of the roads, businesses were open along most of Route 228 and the parking lot at Westinghouse filled up this morning as workers and patrons found ways to detour around the closure.

Franklin Road, east of the shutdown, was open and accessible both from Route 19 to the south of Cranberry in Marshall as well as from Route 19 to the north along Rowan Road.

Officials said the storm hit around 7 p.m. and most of the damage was done in a matter of minutes.

Mr. Schueler said it's unclear exactly what toppled the first pole and set off the chain reaction.

Karen Kane: or at 724-772-9180.

First Published June 25, 2014 12:00 AM

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