Jasper, Tenn. – Late last week, a power outage extended throughout Marion County following an apparent vehicle collision with a cable and caused significant damage to the line as a whole. Several utility entities suffered a loss of service during the repairs. As an added twist, there seemed to be no information on the vehicle responsible for the debacle. Most locations that were powerless following the incident were restored power, but the rerouting of traffic far exceeded the outage.
The area close to the entrance ramp to TN Highway 28 E from TN Highway 41 was the scene of a hit-and-run accident with a utility wire. The current evidence points to a vehicle that caught a transmission line and broke one pole and the weight and/or the vibration of the wire pulled down two more poles close to the asper substation across from the Marion County Highway Department. The resulting absence of support allowed the wires that traditionally hover well above Highway 28 to descend almost to the street level causing the road to be closed. Highway 28 was closed only between Highway 41 and the TN Highway 150 extension which local drivers were comfortable finding ways around, however, traveling traffic had just a little more trouble navigating around the scene.
Whereas the resulting power outage was problematic, many business and residential customers that had retained power lost internet service across multiple internet providers. Large swaths of the power outage were restored within two to three hours although the actual repair to the affected lines continued throughout the night and into Friday morning. The, relatively, small stretch of Highway 28 was still closed at 6:30 on Friday morning. Many of the responding entities periodically posted notices to the public via social media.
Sequatchee Valley Electric Co-operative (SVEC) posted around 10:00 pm on May 12: “Line crews continue to work tonight in Jasper, repairing the severe damage done to our system after a truck hit lines earlier today, causing a major power outage and also a telecommunications outage.”
switched back to normal delivery, which WILL CAUSE A BRIEF OUTAGE FOR PARTS OF JASPER AND WHITWELL. If you are in the Jasper or Whitwell area and you experience a power outage later tonight, don’t worry, we are finishing up work to get all power flowing as normal and the outage should last no longer than 10 minutes.
Thank you to our members for your patience, calls, and comments and for bearing with us as we worked to to get your lights back on.”
Marion County Sheriff’s Office posted around 3:30 pm on the 12th: “Attention: Major power outage in Jasper and surrounding area . It’s possible the power may be off for several hours . Around 2:20pm main transmission lines were taken down by a passing vehicle . The power outage is causing several traffic problems in and around The city of Jasper . Please work with our Police and Fire Departments as they attempt to keep traffic flowing the best we can. Expect delays if your travel takes you into the affected area. At this time Highway 28 is shut down for North and South bound traffic at the Jasper exit . SVEC is on scene and doing everything possible to get the power on as soon as possible.”
At the time of this article, there was still no information on the vehicle responsible for the initial contact with the wires.