Father’s Day weekend storm damages two Tri-State lines

Significant storm damage impacting more than 7 miles of line and structures required line crews and considerable fleet equipment (shown) on site.

Significant storm damage impacting more than 7 miles of line and structures required line crews and considerable fleet equipment (shown) on site.

Some of the association’s transmission maintenance crews had to postpone their Father’s Day weekend celebrations last month to respond to a call for emergency line repairs in the wake of a massive storm that damaged two Tri-State lines in eastern Colorado on the evening of June 14.

Robert Rojas, senior manager of transmission maintenance, provided a brief presentation on the storm event and subsequent line damage to Tri-State’s board during last week’s monthly meeting in Westminster.

According to Rojas, a severe storm moved into the Burlington, Colo., area during the early evening of June 14. The storm first struck Tri-State’s Big Sandy to Landsman Creek 230-kilovolt line at around 6:20 p.m., inflicting heavy damage to about 7 miles of line and 29 H-frame structures. However, no load was lost to local member K.C. Electric Association (Hugo, Colo.).  About 30 minutes later the storm continued to track to the northeast when it struck Tri-State’s 115-kilovolt Burlington to Bonny Creek line, taking out two structures and causing a 20-megawatt load loss to K.C. Electric.

Tri-State crews install a new H-frame structure on the Big Sandy-Landsman Creek line which was damaged in a Father’s Day weekend storm last month.

Tri-State crews install a new H-frame structure on the Big Sandy-Landsman Creek line which was damaged in a Father’s Day weekend storm last month.

Tri-State mobilized line crews from Brush, Cheyenne, Ogallala and Pueblo facilities to respond to the emergency repairs.

“The Burlington-Bonny Creek line was tackled first because it had sustained the least damage and, more importantly, because it was the quickest way for us to restore power to the area,” explained Rojas.

Tri-State’s Burlington Station was also briefly called into service to help provide power to the region while repairs were underway. The Burlington-Bonny Creek line was repaired and re-energized just before midnight on Sunday (June 15).

The first priority before work could begin on the damaged line was to install temporary guard structures to elevate downed conductor safely above blocked county roads.

The first priority before work could begin on the damaged line was to install temporary guard structures to elevate downed conductor safely above blocked county roads.

Far more extensive repairs were required on the Big Sandy-Landsman Creek line, but safety to local residents was the first priority since downed lines blocked a total of three county roads in the area. “Our crews erected guard structures to elevate the downed lines safely above the roadways,” said Rojas.

Tri-State crews, using an entire fleet of cranes, digger-derrick trucks and other equipment, framed and erected new structure on the Big Sandy-Landsman Creek line, pulled and sagged new conductor and had the line back in service by June 30.

“K.C. Electric’s line personnel were a huge help in in our efforts to backfeed the 115kV system to Burlington Station for startup power,” added Rojas.

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