As CVPS utility engineers and transmission supervisors performed helicopter flyovers of Vermont on Monday to assess the damage from the air, crews assisted by hundreds of outside line and tree contractors restored more than 51,000 of the more than 70,000 CVPS customer outages from Hurricane Irene. About 19,400 CVPS customers are without power this morning.
CVPS support staff continued to work with state emergency management officials and the Vermont Agency of Transportation to develop travel and road work strategies to access customers.
An emergency bypass where Route 4 was washed out in Mendon will be completed today. Construction contractors worked through the night on the road. In cooperation with the Agency of Transportation, CVPS hired Belden Construction to build the emergency bypass, which will be available only to utility and emergency vehicles and will be monitored by law enforcement. A more permanent repair will require substantial planning and construction by the state.
Devastation is extensive across CVPS's system. A handful of examples among the dozens of major issues include:
The near destruction of the Rochester Substation. Royalton Operations Supervisor Ben Bemis had to ride an off-road motorcycle to the site, which was inaccessible to trucks. “The fence is gone, the transformer has been undermined, and debris is scattered all over the place,” Bemis said. “It’s looking pretty sad.”
Numerous sections of Route 107 in Bethel virtually disappeared. The White River flooding took out numerous poles and hundreds of feet of line.
The loss of a key bridge on Route 73 between Goshen and Rochester. One end of the bridge supports washed out, dropping the span into the water below. “The Route 73 bridge looks like a boat ramp going down into the river,” Bemis said.
The loss of not only dozens of utility poles, but the scouring of all of the soil that held the poles up. Springfield Operations Supervisor Ed Whittemore said in many cases, even if the road existed, there is no soil left to install new poles.
Projects that will entail the complete reconstruction of entire sections of the utility system. In Jamaica, for example, crews were able to feed the center of the village through a backfeed, but the lines heading in both directions from the village center were washed away. In Wardsboro, Brattleboro Operations Supervisor Dave Miller said they found one washout that included five utility poles, but workers couldn’t go any further because the road was gone. “God only knows what washouts there are beyond that one,” Miller said.
Up-to-date outage numbers (by town) can be found at: http://www.cvps.com/CustomerService/outages/ and http://vtoutages.com/