Restoration of Nebraska Public Power District's 230-kV transmission line in north Buffalo County, extensively damaged by a wind storm July 17, will become more visible as crews begin the work of setting new poles and stringing wire this month.
Replacement poles, wire, and other materials are arriving daily, which means additional vehicle traffic on rural roads. Crews will move from various locations and materials are brought in and out of material lay down areas.
"Our goal is to have the restoration work completed and the line back into operation by the end of August," explained Tom Kent, transmission and distribution manager for NPPD. "With the increased traffic on these roads, we ask that the public be observant of trucks and other vehicles involved in the restoration work." In the interest of safety for everyone, he emphasized that the public should remain out of the restoration area while work is being conducted.
Approximately 32 mi of power lines and 218 structures were brought to the ground by the storm that had wind speeds reported between 70 and 100 miles per hour. Although the line is currently out of service, NPPD has rerouted power through other transmission facilities. No customers have been without electricity since the early morning hours following the storm.
Construction crews will be assisted by helicopters later this month with the setting of the new structures and restringing of power lines, speeding up the restoration process.
Immediately following the storm, crews began removing damaged structures and downed wire on two sections of the damaged line. One segment runs from NPPD's Riverdale substation, located north of Kearney, to its Crooked Creek substation, north of Lexington, while the other segment runs from the Riverdale substation to NPPD's Grand Island substation.
Total cost of the storm damage, portions of which are eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be determined after restoration of the line occurs and damages are settled with landowner's whose fields may be impacted by the work.