Truck on Port Angeles bridge project snares line, cuts power to mill

PORT ANGELES – Power was knocked out to Nippon Paper Industries USA’s plant on Ediz Hook for six hours on Wednesday after a dump truck with its bed extended snagged a high-voltage power line that serves the plant and the pole snapped.

Power was switched to the plant’s backup power source about 90 minutes after the 8:25 a.m. outage.

Repairs were completed and full power was restored by about 3 p.m.

“It was quite a flash,” said Terry Dahlquist, the city’s electrical engineering manager.

“It blew out the front tires of the truck.”

The outage shut down work underneath the Valley Creek bridge but work continues on the Tumwater Creek bridge, Dahlqluist said.

City Public Works Director Glenn Cutler said the incident won’t delay the Eighth Street bridges replacement project.

Parsons RCI Inc. of Sumner is replacing the two bridges over Tumwater and Valley creeks under an $18.4 million contract.

The Tumwater Creek bridge closed on Aug. 20 and is being demolished.

The Valley Creek bridge is scheduled to be closed on Monday so that it can be demolished.

The two bridges will be replaced with five-span concrete bridges that are scheduled to open on Nov. 1, 2008.

The 69,000-volt power line, which serves only the Nippon mill, is being temporarily rerouted from underneath the Valley Creek bridge as part of the Eighth Street bridges project.

Power to the mill is scheduled to be shut off for brief periods during October so that the power supply can be switched to the new line, but Wednesday morning’s incident wasn’t on anyone’s schedule.

“This outage was totally unplanned,” Dahlquist said.

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