A power line no wider than a 50-cent piece mysteriously fell to the sidewalk of Jefferson Boulevard, in the vicinity of the Route 37 overpass, caused outages to an estimated 2,600 customers in Warwick and Cranston Monday morning.
In Warwick, the outage affected an area from north of Hoxsie Four Corners to Sandy Lane. There were also sections west of Post Road, such as along Lincoln Avenue, that were without power for more than an hour starting at 10:43 a.m.
As linemen in bucket trucks worked on restoring power, one of the crew speculated that an insulator failed, which caused the line to drop from the utility pole.
Asked if that is a “natural” occurrence, the man reasoned it could have been struck by lightening some time ago and, in its weakened condition, chose to fail yesterday. He said it is good that the company is currently upgrading equipment. The company has an ongoing program of improving the grid.
David Graves, National Grid spokesman said $51.4 million has been budgeted in the current fiscal year ending March 31 on infrastructure upgrades. A similar amount is planned for next year.
There was little to no wind yesterday morning and there was no trauma to the pole.
But while conditions were calm in the bright sunshine, Warwick police had their hands full directing traffic at key intersections until power was restored. Westbound traffic on Lincoln Avenue was detoured from the railroad underpass and officers directed traffic at the Lincoln Avenue and Post Road intersection as well as Hoxsie Four Corners. Oddly, because of the seemingly random nature of the outages, the nearby intersection at Airport and Post Road was not effected, nor was that of Coronado and Jefferson Boulevard.
As of 3 p.m. yesterday, Graves said electricity had been restored to all but about 30 customers.