RUSH HOUR CHAOS AS 33,000VOLT CABLE CRASHES ON TO MOTORWAY; Six-mile dual tailback in M8 gridlock.
The overhead powerline snapped and collapsed over both sides of the main Glasgow to Edinburgh route just before 8am.
Motorists swerved in the icy early morning conditions in a bid to avoid the falling cable.
Police immediately sealed off the motorway and diverted traffic through Bathgate after the cable slipped its conductor at Junction Four at Whitburn, West Lothian.
The road was closed for four hours as ScottishPower engineers removed the cable and repaired the damage.
Rush-hour commuters faced lengthy delays after the line snapped leaving tailbacks stretching more than six miles on each carriageway.
It is thought the plastic conductor holding the wire to a wooden pole snapped because of the sub-zero conditions.
An AA spokeswoman said: "It was sheer chaos. It really was horrific. It happened at the worst possible time, right in the middle of the rush hour."
Police said it was a miracle no-one had been injured by either the falling cable or when taking action to avoid it.
Last night ScottishPower were investigating the cause of the collapse.
A spokesman said the moment the conductor broke circuit breakers rendered the rogue cable powerless.
He said: "It's very fortunate other circuits in the area could be used so no-one was left without power.
"Although there's an automatic cut-off we had to treat it as live.
"We are checking all other conductors along the motorway to make sure they are safe."
Supt. Lawrence Wynne, Lothian and Borders Traffic Branch Commander, said: "It was lucky no-one was hurt when the cable came down."
He said they were alerted to the problem by a member of the public and patrol cars in the area soon sealed the road off.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jan 21, 1998|
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