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Lower Merion Authorities Recall Response to Hurricane Sandy

Work continues to restore the township to pre-storm conditions.

Three of Lower Merion's top public safety officials addressed the Board of Commissioners Monday night to recap the response to Hurricane Sandy and describe ongoing efforts to alleviate the storm's effects.

Police Superintendent Michael McGrath said officers got 1,800 calls Oct. 29-Oct. 31 and were dispatched to 864 incidents; a normal three-day period would see about 300, the superintendent estimated.

At least 155 road blockages were caused by downed trees, wires or both. Twenty-five traffic signals went out, McGrath said.

Fire Chief Chas McGarvey said firefighters went to 98 calls for service, including gas leaks and at least eight trees that had fallen on houses.

Public works director Don Cannon said he still has employees working overtime shifts, but some problems still linger, such as the closure of Mill Creek Road east of Conshohocken State Road. Three utility poles "with just about every utility you can think of" broke there, Cannon said, and restringing all the wires is a delicate process.

One by one, commissioners thanked the men and their crews for their efforts. Commissioner Dan Bernheim, who represents the Penn Valley neighborhood where outages were plentiful during the storm, wondered whether it would be feasible to bury some power lines. Administration officials said they were not aware of any recent township study that contemplated the possibility.

McGrath alerted residents that there could be at least two scheduled power reductions this week, both in Ardmore.

On Tuesday, crews will be repairing lines on the first blocks of West Lancaster Avenue and Rittenhouse Place, potentially affecting 74 buildings. Then on Thursday, more line work is expected on the first blocks of East Lancaster, Cricket and Station avenues, affecting 54 buildings. 

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