Too close for comfort: Truck makes a mess of utility lines on Hwy. 69 in Rusk

by by Cristin Parker

Rusk Police Department and other officials spent a cold and rainy day Thursday, Feb, 21, making sure motorists were able to navigate U.S. Highway 69, just north of Rusk, after a couple of semi trucks’ oversized loads took down several utility lines spanning the highway from east to west.

According to police reports, Rusk officers were able to detour southbound traffic from the highway to County Road 1601 to bypass the area where both electric and telephone lines were down. Officers stayed on site until about 9 p.m., Thursday directing northbound traffic through the area.

At least three utility poles were damaged in the incident and had to be replaced. ONCOR crews worked all day Thursday to replace the poles.

Police reports indicate the 18-wheeler hauling a large piece of industrial equipment was traveling south on U.S. 69 and snagged the lines first, causing them to sag. A second truck, hauling logs, caught the lines and pulled them down completely.

“There were two electric transformers that were pulled off the electric poles and the transformers struck the pavement and were damaged, causing the oil inside them to spill out onto the roadway,” the police report states. “Haz-Mat had to be called out to the scene to clean the oil spill off the roadway.”

Several residences and at least one business lost power during the incident. No injuries were reported.