A track-hoe operator survived being shocked after accidentally pulling down an electric line while doing construction work at the Interstate 83/Route 581 split Thursday morning, a PennDOT official said.

The 7:15 a.m. mishap stopped traffic in both directions, causing miles-long backups that spilled onto Bridge Street in New Cumberland.

Greg Penny, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the boom was raised too high on the track hoe and caught and pulled down an electric wire.

The operator "got a jolt from hitting the wire" and was taken to a local hospital for observation, Penny said.

The live wire then came in contact with a vehicle on the interstate, but the driver of that vehicle wasn't injured, Penny said.

Fairview Township Deputy Fire Chief Eric Hawkins said the line was a high-tension wire, and that it fell across all lanes of the interstate.

Hawkins said conditions on I-83 were "like a parking lot" for miles.

The track-hoe operator works for private contractor J.D. Eckman of Chester County, which has been contracted by PennDOT to help with the renovations at the New Cumberland exit (Exit 40B) and the I-83/581 split, Penny said.

A PPL crew removed the wire, and both lanes of the interstate reopened shortly after 8 a.m.



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