SKOWHEGAN — Power lines came crashing down within 24 minutes of one another in two locations Tuesday afternoon in Skowhegan, stacking up traffic into gridlock in every direction.

At 12:47 p.m. Tuesday, a loaded logging truck got tangled up in overhead utility wires on Island Avenue near the fire station, bringing them down and reducing traffic to one lane. Twenty-four minutes later, at 1:11 p.m., a large section of an old maple tree separated from the main body of the tree and came crashing down onto Jewett Street — the street designated as the detour from road work on Madison Avenue — dragging more wires with it.

All that, combined with high traffic for the 200th annual Skowhegan State Fair and a heavy rainstorm, snarled traffic across the downtown for almost an hour.

Skowhegan Fire Chief Shawn Howard said two of the three lanes across the Margaret Chase Smith Bridges were down to just one lane.

“The logs on a truck caught some lines as it came out of the parking lot across the street,” Howard said of the Chapter 11 store across from the fire station. “The two south lanes were closed — we had one-way traffic going through.”

Howard said his crews also went to Jewett Street. He said a team from Central Maine Power Co. removed the wires and a highway department crew took care of the tree.

“I know when I started coming downtown, the traffic was backed up past the Heritage House,” Road Commissioner Greg Dore said.

Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam said Timothy Decker, of Farmington, was driving the logging truck registered to Chadbourne Trucking, of Gardiner, when a small gray vehicle sideswiped the logging truck. He said the drivers of both vehicles pulled into the parking lot to exchange information.

Bucknam said the logs on his trailer caught the utility lines as the driver was leaving the parking lot, pulling the wires down and getting them tangled in the truck.

Power in the area was not lost, Howard said.

Traffic lanes on the bridges reopened by 1:45 p.m.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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