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Tractor-trailer pulls down lines, closing Cross Lanes road

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Businesses were closed and quiet along the normally bustling Goff Mountain Road in Cross Lanes after a tractor-trailer hauling an excavator became entangled in power lines, pulling them down and breaking a pole.

Tonya Hull, shift leader at Taco Bell, said the Cross Lanes store had five customers all day. Another two walked in about 4:45 p.m. just before the store closed.

The last two customers were utility workers who had been on the scene most of the day.

Just as they were being served, bringing the total customer count of the day to seven, the general manager called and told Hull to close. 

"Usually we have 100 or more people coming through here, but it's just been really slow," said Hull, who has worked for Taco Bell more than 20 years. 

The incident, which happened about 9:30 a.m. Monday near City National Bank, left power lines lying on top of another vehicle that was passing through at the time.

Emergency workers were able to remove passengers from the vehicle, Kanawha Metro 911 dispatchers said.

No one could reach businesses along the stretch, which normally sees heavy traffic flow.

Emergency officials closed all lanes of Goff Mountain Road from the Interstate 64 exit ramp at Cross Lanes to the West Washington Street intersection.

School buses for Cross Lanes Elementary, Andrew Jackson Middle School and Nitro High School experienced severe delays in their afternoon runs. 

C.W. Sigman, Kanawha County fire coordinator, said he was told at 10:30 a.m. it would take 10 to 12 hours to reopen the road. 

"That's a nightmare out there anyway," Sigman said. "It's a real mess today." 

Wendy's was closed, as was Charleston Area Medical Center's Urgent Care facility, which encouraged patients to visit the Southridge location instead. Speedway and One Stop were shuttered as well.

Hull arrived at Taco Bell before 9 a.m. and was working in the back of the restaurant when the lights began to flicker. She thought that was odd because there were no signs of a storm. It wasn't until later that she saw the downed lines across the road.

She learned from repair workers that the roads weren't expected to open for quite a while. 

"I thought, 'Man, this is going to suck,'" she said. "I want business. I can't stand it being slow."

The store's general manager asked her and another employee to stay so they bided their time by cleaning the newly remodeled store.

Capt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department said residents on Brick Lane and Old Goff Mountain Road were delayed in getting to their homes while crews worked on repairing the damaged lines and poles.

Residents and visitors were asked to exercise patience and caution in the area because of the congestion and wet roads.

Crosier said several crashes occurred on 40th Street and West Washington Street while traffic was backed up.

Wrecks also were causing traffic delays on Interstate 64 in the vicinity of the Cross Lanes exits.

Dispatchers had reports of two crashes in the westbound lanes of Interstate 64 between the Cross Lanes and Institute exits during the rush hour. No injuries were reported.

"Accidents can be avoided with patience and caution," Crosier wrote in an email.

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