A key artery in the connection between the east and central parts of Contra Costa County reopened Wednesday morning after a crash the previous night caused a fire and forced its closure and wreaked havoc with the commute.

Kirker Pass Road, which connects Concord with Pittsburg, was closed in both directions until just past 8:45 a.m. according to California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Bartlett. Officials shut down the road Tuesday evening after a Ford SUV ran into a telephone pole near Nortonville Road, Contra Costa Fire Protection District spokesman Robert Marshall said.

The crash caused a 15-acre vegetation fire that was contained by about 6:30 p.m., Marshall said. The crash also left about 1,700 people without electricity, but those customers were restored by 7 p.m., according to PG&E.

Kirker Pass Road was shut down from Myrtle Lane on the Concord side to Pheasant Drive on the Pittsburg side. Traffic spilled over onto Highway 4 both during the evening and morning commutes. Traffic on Wednesday morning was particularly slow in the westbound direction after Bailey Road, where the CHP and at least two motorists described it as a "parking lot."

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow at Twitter.com/3rdERH.