Mandatory Evacuation Lifted Sooner Than Expected
Just nine days after a construction accident cut the line carrying power to Hatteras Island and Ocracoke, repairs have been made and power is flowing again.
That is really impressive. Original estimates put the power outage at two to three weeks with the possibility of an even longer delay.
Although bad, the damage was not quite as extensive as first feared. Repairs still included splicing high voltage lines and constructing a new set of overhead lines to get the electricity out of the construction zone as much as possible.
Once the repairs were complete on Friday, limited access to Hatteras and Ocracoke was lifted and all were welcome.
During the nine days it took to repair the line, the state and Dare County worked to bring in generators to provide minimal power. However, they could not provide adequate energy to run air conditioners. Even with the auxiliary power, rolling blackouts were mandated and concern about having enough power to pump water were raised.
Because of the uncertain nature of the power, mandatory evacuations were ordered. Only residents and essential personnel were allowed in the affected areas.
All of the facts have not yet been released. It appears, however, that workers for PCL, the construction company building the replacement span for the Bonner Bridge, severed the line when they were driving a steel casing into the ground.
The casing, used to hold pilings in place during construction, was being set aside for storage, What the worker were doing, according to reports, was the equivalent of driving a shovel into the ground.
If that is borne out after all the facts are examined, it is perhaps doubly tragic because it did not have to happen. What the workers were doing had almost nothing to do with construction and could be viewed as an action designed for the worker’s convenience and perhaps a little efficiency.