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Watchung Tries to Untangle Power Line Issues

Service in area may be restored—but complications remain.

Watchung Borough remains without power, and much of the issue may be caused by two main problems: downed lines on Hillcrest Road and a mess caused when a tractor-trailer trying to drive on Johnston Drive got tangled in low-hanging wires and pulled down several utility poles and transformers.

"How he got there, we don't even know," Watchung OEM Co-ordinator Gary Grieves said.

Grieves said PSE&G crews were working on Hillcrest Road, and some of the 34 area substations damaged by Hurricane Sandy were getting back online. 

"Now that they're coming up, there might be limited power coming up—and possibly going down," Grieves said. 

An "army of PSE&G bucket trucks" was reported traveling down Hillcrest Road at 11 a.m. Thursday—though Grieves didn't know if the crews were going to tackle issues in Watchung or elsewhere.

Grieves said the borough has been prioritizing getting roads open, especially the main thoroughfares. Mountain Boulevard, Stirling Road and Somerset Street are all open, but Valley Road is closed due to a downed wire near Oakwood Drive.

Initially, emergency responders couldn't get to about 30 streets in town, Grieves said, but that number is down to eight to 10.

"One of the biggest problems is keeping debris off the streets," Grieves said, adding debris can keep utility reapir crews from being able to get to areas for repairs.

Most of the borough remains without power—PSE&G reports between 2,000 and 5,000 in town without service, while JCP&L says it has 78 customers without power.

The borough offices are open, despite the lack of service, with municipal officials working. Today's property tax deadline has been extended at least 10 days.

Einar Bohlin November 01, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Is that really Oakwood Drive? Or should it be Oakwood Road? Any status of that particular downed line?

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