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Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 03/29/2011

Branch Avenue reopens after package is a hoax

1:05 p.m. Update: Authorities say a suspicious package near Andrews Air Force Base was constructed to look like a bomb but appears to have been a hoax device.

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesman Mark Brady says bomb technicians used a remote detonator to disable the device Tuesday morning. He says it was constructed to look like a makeshift bomb, but there’s no indication it contained any actual explosives.

Brady says a road crew discovered the device on the side of Maryland Route 5 in Clinton. A more than 2-mile stretch of the highway was closed for nearly three hours.

Brady says a bomb technician determined that it “was not a threat to anybody.” He declined to provide a detailed description of the package in order to dissuade copycats.

— Associated Press

11:30 a.m. Update: Prince George’s County bomb technicians have determined the suspicious package along Branch Avenue was likely not a bomb at all, authorities said. Branch Avenue is expected to reopen in the next 30 minutes.

Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, said the package was “constructed to look like an actual explosive device, but after disrupting the package, looking at the contents, we do not believe it was not a threat to anybody.”

He said investigators are still collecting evidence but expect the roadway to reopen soon.

10:30 a.m. Update: Prince George’s EMS spokesman Mark Brady said the package “has the appearance of an improvised explosive device.”

10:25 a.m. Update: Maryland State Police say the north and southbound lanes of Route 5 between Woodyard Road and Kirby Road in the Clinton area are expected to remain closed for at least two hours while authorities investigate a suspicious package.

State Highway Administration personnel are diverting northbound Route 5 traffic onto Woodyard Road, to Coventry Road, to Old Alexandria Road, state police said in a news release. Southbound traffic is being diverted at Kirby Road to Old Branch Avenue, state police said.

— Matt Zapotosky

Original post: Branch Avenue is closed in both directions at Coventry Way in Clinton, according to Prince George’s emergency officials.

According to spokesman Mark Brady, a road crew discovered a suspicious package on the side of the road. Brady said there is no estimate for how long Branch Avenue will remain closed as the county bomb squad investigates what officials described as “an unusual discovery.”

By Washington Post Editors  |  10:24 AM ET, 03/29/2011

 
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