Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Transmission tower damaged in storm

by RANDY WELLS rwells@indianagazette.net on June 27, 2013 10:50 AM

KENWOOD — Crews are working to replace a high-voltage First Energy electricity transmission tower in a field along Route 553 and Overman Road, Cherryhill Township, damaged by Tuesday night’s storm.

Mark Durbin, a First Energy spokesman, said it’s believed “straight-line wind” caused the bottom one-third of the tower’s metal framework to collapse.

No one was hurt. The 500-kilovolt lines attached to the tower were deactivated and the electricity rerouted.

The lines on the damaged tower remain out of service, but there is adequate capacity in other lines to supply sufficient power to the grid, according to Durbin.

Special construction crews will build a replacement tower near the wind-damaged structure, which is about 100 feet tall.

“We’re working 24/7 to get it back on line,” Durbin said this morning.

Volunteer firefighters around Indiana County responded Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to many reports of trees and limbs blown down on roads and utility lines.

At one time during the storm an estimated 4,200 Indiana County customers of REA Energy and about 1,550 Penelec customers were without power. Joe Palko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service near Pittsburgh, said measured winds in Indiana County on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning reached only about 27 mph.

But summer thunderstorms can sometimes produce isolated downbursts of winds that briefly gust to as much as 70 mph, he said.

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June 27, 2013 10:45 AM
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