There is a more narrow time frame for the effort to restore power to the southern Outer Banks, local utility officials announced Tuesday morning.
In an update Tuesday evening, the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative gave an updated timeline of four to six days for mending the power outage on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
“This includes the time required for testing after all construction is complete and before transmission service can begin,” CHEC said on Facebook Tuesday evening.
The utility also had finished setting the poles to set up overhead transmission cables to bring electricity to the islands – a second strategy the utility pursued to restore power as quickly as possible.
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The time frame on the repair was previously one to two weeks.
The blackout struck the islands about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, July 27, when a crew from PCL Construction drove a steel casing into the ground on the northern tip of Hatteras Island while working on the Bonner Bridge project.
Repair crews got a first look Saturday at one of three underground transmission cables, and it had been severed.
On Sunday, the utility said all three of the cables were damaged. Monday brought news that only two of the cables were damaged, and that one of them was repaired.
The utility began two simultaneous projects for restoring power – repairing the damaged underground cable, and building a new overhead transmission line from the south end of the bridge to connect to an existing overhead line.
Workers unearthed the other damaged cable by Tuesday afternoon. Crews built and installed a pump Monday night to help prevent water from filling the dig site so that a team can splice the damaged cable back together, but water continued to seep in Tuesday evening, creating an unsafe work environment.
On the overhead project, the utility said on Tuesday afternoon that crews had finished installing all of the poles needed to connect cables from the underground lines ahead of the damage to overhead lines on Hatteras Island.
The blackout prompted a mandatory evacuation of visitors during the peak of the tourism season for the islands. People with proof of residency were allowed onto the islands, where a growing number of generators have provided power since late Thursday night.
On Monday, PCL Civil Constructors and two affiliate companies became the subject of a lawsuit being brought on behalf of individuals and businesses affected by the outage, according to the filing firm.
Wallace and Graham of Salisbury said Monday it was working with lawyers in North and South Carolina and filed the lawsuit in Dare County Superior Court.