After all-day closure, Route 7 is open for traffic
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. — Wilton police report two lanes of traffic are now open on Route 7 — one northbound, one southbound.
UPDATE: 3:10 p.m. — Wilton police issued the following regarding the Route 7 closure:
"Rt. 7 continues to be closed in the area of Pimpewaug Rd. with a detour at School Rd. and Rt. 33 Ridgefield Rd.
"Eversource estimates another two hours or more before Rt. 7 can reopen. Police officers and CERT will assist at all affected detours and at Cider Mill and the Wilton High Schools. The Police Department and Fire Departments are currently coordinating with the First Selectman's Office, bus company and school personnel.
"Once the main power transmission power line can be isolated and secured (made safe), the roadway can be reopened. The best estimate at this juncture is at least another two hours (4:00pm). Best efforts are being made to open the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
"Please use alternate routes as traffic is heavy and expected to be worse as the schools let out and rush hour begins.
"Thank you for your patience."
UPDATE: 2 p.m. — Emergency workers report plans are being made to divert traffic on Route 7 if it is still closed into rush hour.
Wilton schools report buses will be delayed and routes will take longer than normal. All afterschool activities will take place as scheduled.
UPDATE: 1 p.m. — Wilton schools have released the following statement regarding the affect of the Route 7 closure on school buses:
"Currently, we have do not have a definite time that the road will be re-opened. Please be aware that buses will have to detour and parents should plan on delayed arrivals. Traveling to Cider Mill, Middlebrook and Wilton High school will be extremely difficult, if possible please have students take their assigned bus home."
UPDATE: 11 a.m. — As of 10:30 this morning, Wilton police did not have an estimated time when Route 7 will be re-opened, however, a short time later they reported an estimated time of 1 p.m. Here is what The Bulletin has learned so far:
A mishap with a dump truck delivering mulch to Gregory’s Sawmill Wednesday morning, May 6, resulted in downed wires, a fire and traffic jams.
According to Wilton Fire Chief Ron Kanterman, Gregory’s was taking a delivery of mulch and put the truck on an incline so the mulch would fall more easily out the back. The truck, however, hit the high-tension wires overhead and that contact set the truck on fire.
The driver was able to escape without injury, Kanterman said, although he was taken to Norwalk Hospital.
Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang. That, said Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross, was the sound the fuse in the transformer makes when it cuts power and prevents further damage to the line.
Two fire trucks from headquarters on Danbury Road responded to the accident and when they arrrived firefighters “evaluated the electrical hazard versus the fire hazard” before extinguishing the fire, the chief said.
Because of the possibility of further hazards, Route 7 was closed in both directions. Pimpewaug Road is also closed.
“If the wire had burned through and come down, we would have had a real mess,” Kanterman said.
Eversource arrived on the scene and worked on identifying the problem and securing the damaged line. Gross said there are two electric lines on that stretch of Route 7 — “the larger voltage and the lesser voltage that serves homes and businesses. It’s the lesser voltage line that is in contact with the vehicle.”
Crews had to remove the damaged line to complete repairs. “They will have to de-energize the high-voltage line” to do that, he said. “We don’t expect customers to be affected,” since the power company can divert electricity serving homes and businesses.
As a result of the accident there were 68 power outages in Wilton and 20 in Redding, all of which were back on line fairly quickly.
In addition to firefighters, Wilton police, EMS and members of CERT were on the scene.
9:36 a.m. — Wilton police report Danbury Road (Route 7) will be closed from Ridgefield Road to School Road. Pimpewaug Road is also closed.
Reports indicate the reason is a truck fire. The truck took out high-tension wires, according to reports, but Eversource does not indicate any power outages at this time.