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HECO clears downed utility poles in Ewa and restores power

By Gordon Y.K. Pang and Gregg K. Kakesako

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:16 p.m. HST, Mar 04, 2011


Hawaiian Electric work crews were working to clear all of the utility poles downed by last night's heavy downpour and gusty winds from the Fort Weaver Road before this afternoon's rush hour.

By 2 this afternoon HECO crews had restored power to all but 6,500 homes and businesses, most of them in the Ewa plain, Darren Pai, HECO spokesman said.

More than 14,000 homes and businesses, mostly in Leeward Oahu, were without power this morning after a storm system moved over the state causing power outages and road closures across Oahu, tying up traffic for commuters from Kapolei to Waikane this morning.

Pai said 22 utility poles were knocked down by the rain and wind, with 15 of them along Fort Weaver road closing off the makai-bound lanes.

Pai said HECO crews hoped to restore power to the area using backup circuits.

However, Pai said that it may take another day before all of the fallen utility poles would be replaced in Ewa and other parts of the island.

Many Ewa businesses had no electricity and few customers this morning following a chain reaction that toppled about 20 utility poles in the area, knocking out power and closing the makai-bound lanes of Fort Weaver Road.

Jeanette Makaena, Ewa Zippy’s manager, said the store lost power at 9 a.m. The restaurant remained open, selling what it could to the smattering of area residents making their way into the dimly lit entryway.

“We’re going to stay open as long was we can, and sell whatever we can sell,” Makaena said, as she pressed a cell phone against one ear waiting to speak to someone at HECO for word of when power would return.

West Oahu City Councilman Tom Berg, who trekked into the Zippy’s with an aide, reported that both Ewa Beach Longs stores were shut down as was much of the Ewa Town Center.

The only exception, he said, was the Foodland Supermarket which appeared to be continuing to operate with the use of a generator.

Strong winds ripped a tall tree from the ground near the Child and Family Service headquarters on Fort Weaver Road early this morning, shutting down the major artery into Ewa and Ewa Beach and leaving most residents in the area without electricity.

Hawaiian Electric crew workers said the tree fell knocked down utility lines, causing a chain reaction that felled about 15 power poles along Fort Weaver and another four to six poles on Old Fort Weaver.

All southbound lanes of Fort Weaver going into Ewa Beach had been shut down since early morning. This afternoon, one lane in to Ewa Beach was open between Old Fort Weaver Road and Renton Road, and two lanes were open for traffic headed out. 

Power in Ocean Pointe and other parts of Ewa Beach had been out since about 3 a.m. The electricity went out in more mauka portions of Ewa, including the Ewa Zippys, about 9 a.m.

HECO crews at the site of the downed poles and lines said the goal was to try to clear at least one or two of the southbound lanes before the afternoon traffic rush about 4 p.m.

Workers on the scene said they didn’t expect the poles to be replaced until at least sometime this weekend, if not early next week.






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