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Fallen tree, downed lines close highway

Utility crews clear an oak tree that briefly impeded traffic Wednesday afternoon on Sylvester Road.

Utility crews clear an oak tree that briefly impeded traffic Wednesday afternoon on Sylvester Road.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Possibly weakened by the Tuesday night winds, an oak tree split in two at 2 p.m. Wednesday, with a section falling and taking down a power line at 2605 Sylvester Road.

"We had to stop traffic in both directions for five or 10 minutes," said Terry Brown, an Albany Police Department officer. "Water, Gas & Light got here fast."

Water, Gas & Light Commission crews cut up the down section of the oak tree next to St. Paul's Baptist Church while another crew took the live wire from the road.

Once the live wire was removed from the road, traffic moved in three of Sylvester Road's four lanes. The lane closest to the tree was closed as crews removed the tree.

Most of the tree and power-line problems occurred during the Tuesday night storm that brought lightning, wind gusts and heavy rain.

"All our outages were at about 8:20 (p.m.) Tuesday," said Lorie Farkas, WG&L Commission spokeswoman. "Our crews were working from 8 a.m. and then we called six crews in again for the night. They didn't finish until 2 a.m., then they went to work again today."

Tuesday night, the crews responded to three outages across the city that took power from about 500 people, Farkas said. The longest anyone was without power was six hours. Most had power restored in about 3 1/2 hours, she added.