Restoration efforts in Westport: 40 % roads reopened
WESTPORT — Officials are hard at work trying to move restoration efforts ahead faster as the majority of the town remains without power after Tropical Storm Isaias.
“I have been in direct contact with Eversource and our legislators about the Eversource response and its expected time-frame for restoration, demanding accurate estimates from Eversource for their remaining restoration efforts,” First Selectman Jim Marpe said in a news release Thursday.
Marpe said residents should be aware the recent storm has caused as much electrical infrastructure damage as Super Storm Sandy eight years ago.
“Power restoration in that event took many days” he said. “We understand everyone’s frustration with even a day without power, so we will push Eversource in every way possible to speed the process without compromising safety.”
The massive outage has also impacted cell towers, with many facing sporadic to non-existent Wi-Fi, internet and cell service, he said. The town has since contacted representatives from the various cell services in the area.
“The representatives assured us that they are working on temporary solutions to gain some level of service, but ultimately, they, like all of us, rely on full restoration by Eversource before they may achieve full capability,” Marpe said.
The Department of Public Works has opened 40 percent of the 294 roads that were closed. Part of the standard for restoration is the “Make Safe” program where town crews are paired with Eversource crews to reopen streets blocked by downed trees and power lines, according to the news release.
Once the power company verifies electricity is off to the downed wires, DPW staff can safely remove debris. Power cannot be safely restored until all the trees are cleared, the news release said.
The town is also working on establishing locations for public device charging stations. Seniors age 60 or older can charge their devices outside the Senior Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outdoor public Wi-Fi can also be accessed at the train station houses, outside of Town Hall and outside of the library.
Town beaches are open for use but will be closing at 8:30 p.m. in an effort to keep people off the roads after dark. Longshore Golf Course and Longshore tennis courts remain closed as clean-up continues and there is no electricity.
Athletic fields are open with the exception of Town Farms and Coleytown Elementary school fields. Other parks that are open include Winslow Park, Grace Salmon Park, Luciano Park, Eloise Ray Park, Pasacreta Park, Jesup Green and Veterans Green.
Other parks will open once the damage is assessed, but residents should note some areas may still be blocked or closed off.
“And please remember, we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus so practice social distancing and use face coverings if you choose to leave your home,” Marpe said. “Please help protect our community as we work together to get through the pandemic and the storm aftermath.”