Wind, fire may have helped snarl Hwy 29 morning commute

2013-05-01T14:27:00Z Wind, fire may have helped snarl Hwy 29 morning commuteMICHAEL WATERSON Napa Valley Register
May 01, 2013 2:27 pm  • 

A small grass fire caused by a downed powerline may have led to a signal light outage that snarled rush-hour traffic Wednesday morning.

Captain James Bryant said an American Canyon crew responded to a fire at the intersection of Rio Del Mar and Highway 29 at 12:16 a.m. The spot fire burned about 30 feet of fence Bryant said. The crew departed the scene at 2:18 a.m. at which time the signal was working, according to Bryant.

When the crew went out on a call at 6 a.m. the light wasn’t working Bryant said.

“This morning was a perfect traffic congestion storm,” Michael Throne, the city’s Public Works director wrote in an email.

According to Throne, high winds last night caused damage to the overhead power lines at Rio del Mar/Highway 29, causing the Caltrans signal to have to be switched to flashing red. American Canyon Police Department stationed officers at the intersection to direct traffic.

Early this morning, Throne said, a traffic incident on Highway 12 caused more traffic through American Canyon.

PG&E was on scene mid-morning, Throne said, to repair the power lines. The signal is back to normal operation this afternoon.

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