Gov. Cooper visits site of utility damage in Outer Banks

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP/WAVY) — Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday visited the bridge where transmission cables were damaged, causing the evacuation of tourists from two islands on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Cooper visited the Bonner Bridge — spanning the Oregon Inlet — which is where cables were damaged Thursday by a construction company building a new bridge parallel to the current one.

The Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said Monday further testing found only two of three underground transmissions lines sustained damage.

The loss of all power to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands caused authorities to order tourists to evacuate. It’s not known when they’ll be able to return.

Electric cooperatives are using generators on the two islands after PCL Construction accidentally drove a steel casing into the underground transmission cable.

The cooperative says two solutions are being looked at to restore power.

One of the solutions involves excavating and de-watering the cables. Splicing on one of the damaged cables is already complete, the cooperative says.

The second solution is to build an overhead transmission line. Installation efforts on this solution began Monday morning.

Hyde County officials said in a news release Monday that the North Carolina EMC is working to repair a three megawatt generator in Ocracoke that was damaged in the outage.

The island is still relying on power from three mobile generators. Officials say an occasional maintenance outage can be expected from time to time.

Officials say the mandatory evacuation will stay in effect until adequate power can provide them with support.

The North Carolina Ferry System has switched to their “winter” schedule on Hatteras-Ocracoke until the evacuation order is lifted.

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