Power outage causes shutdown of traffic lights during rush hour Blown fuse at transformer in Highlandtown blamed

July 11, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A power outage at a Highlandtown transformer shut off traffic lights in parts of Southeast Baltimore yesterday afternoon, snarling rush-hour traffic for about an hour, police said.

Traffic signals affected included those in the Eastern Avenue corridor from the city line to Broadway; the Route 40 corridor between Broadway and Ellwood Avenue; and the Fleet Street corridor, said Sgt. Robert Wehner of the Southeastern District.

"It happened so fast, so unexpectedly," Wehner said of the outage, which occurred about 4: 30 p.m. "It couldn't have happened at a worse time, with everyone trying to go home on a Friday afternoon."

Twelve traffic units were dispatched to direct traffic at intersections, Wehner said. Officers patrolling the Camden Yards area were told to stand by to assist, but were not needed.

John Schropp, a Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. spokesman, said the apparent culprit was a blown fuse at the Highlandtown transformer, between Haven and Dean streets, just south of Pulaski Highway. When the transformer shut down, it caused the loss of three substations in Highlandtown, Broadway and New Gate, he said.

About 20,000 customers were affected, but by 5: 30 p.m., most of the power had been restored, Schropp said.

"Our major concern was getting everything back online," he said.

By 5: 30 p.m., power to 97 percent of the affected lights was restored, and no motorists were seriously injured during the outage, Wehner said.

Pub Date: 7/11/98

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