Power is expected to be restored in the area of Washington and Mills streets Wednesday evening following repairs and replacements of several utility poles, which were damaged after a garbage truck caught low-hanging power wires Tuesday morning.
A Nixle.com alert notice was sent out shortly before 6 p.m. from the Morristown Police Department that the repair work had been completed and crews would be leaving within 30-45 minutes. However, an additional alert was sent out about 30 minutes later stating, "The JCP&L crew at Washington Street at Mills Street advise that additional repairs are still needed in order to fully restore service and open the roadway to traffic. The crew is still on the scene and advise that there may be another 2-3 hours worth of required work. Updates will be provided as they become available."
Crews have been on the scene replacing the damaged utility poles all day.
Mayor Tim Dougherty said during a press conference Tuesday that the garbage truck that caught the low-lying wires had been an independently-owned truck and was not part of town staff.
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As significant traffic detours have been in effect since yesterday, motorists should expect continued congestion through rush hour.
JCP&L will remain on the scene for approximately 30-45 minutes to remove equipment and ensure there are no further issues.
Town officials are hopeful utility work at Washington and Mills streets will be done by the end of the day.
Business Administrator Michael Rogers, however, could not give any specific time frame as to when JCP&L and Verizon crews would be finished replacing a trio of utility poles knocked down Tuesday morning when a garbage truck caught a low-hanging power wire. While some ended up losing power as a result of the accident, the utility had to cut power intermittently Wednesday, as well, as the crew worked on getting the poles replaced.
"It's a huge undertaking," Rogers said. "They have dedicated a lot of resources to this since this morning."
A lot of resources for one project—Rogers said about eight utility vehicles were on the scene for the repair—may not be music to the ears of those still without power as a result of Superstorm Sandy last week, but the business administrator said, "they (JCP&L) recognize the severity of which this accident created."
By 2 p.m., crews had been there for six hours and had just finished installing the second pole. Several police officers, including Police Chief Peter Demnitz, had been on the scene since morning providing updates to the town as they became available, Rogers said. Detours remained in place at Early and Mills streets, at Kahdena Road and Washington Street and at Atno Avenue and Washington Street.
Rogers said the nor'easter already bringing wet snow to the area by noon, and its predicted wind gusts, would play a role in whether or not the repairs were delayed. "You can't have someone up in a bucket when the winds are over 30 miles per hour," he said. "Given the circumstances, it depends on how this storm goes through."
Rogers said the town, including Mayor Tim Dougherty, had "pressed upon JCP&L the importance of getting this ameliorated. We're happy with the response and we hope this will be a non-issue by the end of the day."
Clarification: Added comment from Mayor Tim Dougherty stating the garbage truck that caught the low-hanging wires Tuesday was an independent truck and not part of town staff.