June storm damage

A look at power pole damage from June's storm resulting in more than $1 million in damage.

The Fremont Utility and Infrastructure Board during its Tuesday afternoon meeting made the recommendation for the City of Fremont to purchase steel utility poles from Energy Solutions.

The poles would be used for the reconstruction of the North Loop 69kV Transmission line that suffered approximately $1 million in damage during the June storm that wreaked havoc in Fremont and surrounding communities, information from the city shows.

Staff report numbers show that ideally, 35 steel poles would be purchased for the project, which would be covered through a capital expenditure of $87,570. These funds, however, are eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, City Administrator Brian Newton said following Tuesday’s meeting.

The damaged area of the electrical loop lies north of Fremont near U.S. Highway 77 and County Road S, Newton said.

“We had a stretch of 69,000-volt transmission line down that stretch, and when that storm hit Fremont it just absolutely toppled those lines,” he said. “It knocked them down right into the middle of County Road S. It started with one and then just cascaded – boom, boom, boom.”

More than 20 of the wooden poles snapped and were flung into the road, Newton said.

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The ability to have FEMA reimburse expenses is huge in this particular situation for the City of Fremont.

“When they declared that storm eligible for FEMA funds, we were pretty tickled because we don’t have insurance for natural disasters,” he said. “Everybody says, ‘don’t you have insurance?’ No we don’t have insurance for that, we would have to put that in the (customer) rates. Now we have a good shot at covering those through FEMA."

Discussion has already been in the works with FEMA, and Newton said he feels confident that if the city does its due-diligence that it should receive those federal funds.

“As long as we cross our T’s and dot our I’s, absolutely we will be eligible,” he said.

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