West Seattle Blog... » Utilities http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 29 May 2015 02:50:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle road work: SW Orchard lane closure continuing http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-road-work-sw-orchard-lane-closure-continuing/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-road-work-sw-orchard-lane-closure-continuing/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 19:17:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311350

Looking ahead to next week, and a few weeks beyond: Seattle Public UtilitiesEmily Reardon sent word going into the holiday weekend that its work at Delridge/Orchard isn’t over yet:

Quick update re. SPU’s ongoing sewer improvement project near Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard St. The daytime single lane restriction on SW Orchard Street (east of Delridge Way SW) will remain in place off-and-on through mid-June as crews complete sidewalk work and paving. The lane will remain closed Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., and will be opened to traffic during non-work hours. During the closure, all westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound lane with the assistance of a traffic flagger.

The project page for this site, upgrading the combined-sewer-overflow-reducing facilities, ” target=”_blank”>is here.

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Drought declaration statewide; city says Seattle water supply OK http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/drought-declaration-statewide-city-says-seattle-water-supply-ok/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/drought-declaration-statewide-city-says-seattle-water-supply-ok/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 20:52:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310438

(State-provided map, obtained via Flickr. Pink counties [all of WA] = drought)
You might be wondering how Governor Inslee‘s statewide drought declaration will affect you. Not much in terms of routine water use, according to the city. Here’s what Seattle Public Utilities is saying:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) said today there are no plans at this time to raise drinking water rates in the event conservation efforts, prompted by a statewide drought, cause a decline in Utility revenues.

Earlier this year, Seattle City Council adopted a two-year plan that holds water rate increases to 1.7 percent for 2016 and 2.7 percent for 2017. SPU Director Ray Hoffman said that unless there is a gigantic drop in water usage, that rate plan will not change.

“Unlike much of the rest of the state, Seattle has been able to hold lots of water in our mountain reservoirs, and we have told our customers they can expect a normal water summer,” Hoffman said.

“As always, we are asking people to use water wisely, but even if our revenues decline dramatically as a result of conservation efforts, the rates adopted for the next two years are protected by a $28 million contingency fund designed to bring predictability and stability to water bills,” Hoffman said.

Seattleites already use less water than most cities in the country. In the unlikely event of a large decline in water usage, SPU’s first action would be to tap into its rate stabilization fund. Beyond that, options for meeting that long-term fixed revenue requirement could include canceling capital improvement projects or raising rates.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you should just use water with abandon. Here are some easy ways to use less.

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FOLLOWUP: Date changes, comment responses for Delridge/Orchard CSO project http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/followup-date-changes-comment-responses-for-delridgeorchard-cso-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/followup-date-changes-comment-responses-for-delridgeorchard-cso-project/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 03:39:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308378

New information for traffic effects related to the ongoing Delridge/Orchard Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) 2 facility project. Seattle Public Utilities says the SW Myrtle daytime westbound lane closure at 24th SW announced for this week have moved up a day and will be happening on Tuesday/Wednesday (April 28-29) instead. (Flow-monitoring equipment is being installed.) SPU spokesperson Emily Reardon also had answers for two topics that came up in comments on the previous report – first, resulting road changes:

this project narrowed the roadway to two standard-width east-west lanes on SW Orchard, and extended the curb bulb at Orchard and Dumar. These changes allow for new sidewalks and ADA curb ramps along Orchard. The intersection of Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard St. remains largely unchanged. Crews have not yet completed the lanes or added roadway striping. This new roadway configuration is an SDOT-approved design.

The project overview flyer mentions that work.

Another commenter had wondered about an odd color in Longfellow Creek and whether it was related to the CSO work. From Reardon: “I checked with our construction crew and confirmed that no sediment from this project has been released into Longfellow Creek. Sometimes, different colors in creeks in the area can be naturally occurring, but they can also be a sign of a problem upstream … If residents are concerned about something they’re seeing in the creek, they are encouraged to call SPU’s 24-hour emergency line at: 206-386-1800.”

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Seattle Public Utilities project updates: Delridge/Orchard, 22nd/Henderson http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/seattle-public-utilities-project-updates-delridgeorchard-22ndhenderson/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/seattle-public-utilities-project-updates-delridgeorchard-22ndhenderson/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:51:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308043 Updates today from Seattle Public Utilities on two sewer/drainage projects under way along Delridge. First, the project at Delridge/Orchard:

The daytime westbound lane restriction on SW Orchard St. just east of Delridge Way SW will continue through mid-May as crews complete demolition, paving and landscaping work. Over the next couple of weeks, crews are also working on SW Myrtle at 24th Avenue SW, where they are installing a flow monitoring cabinet in the right-of-way. On Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30, between 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., the westbound lane on SW Myrtle St. at 24th Ave. SW will be closed to traffic. During the closure, all westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound lane with the assistance of a traffic flagger.

Work also continues at CSO 3, located at SW Henderson St. and 22nd Ave. SW. (map) Crews recently completed the underground diversion structure at SW Barton Place and SW Barton St. and are currently working on the CSO 3 facility.

Crews are on schedule to reach substantial completion of both projects in the fall of this year.

Questions/concerns about either project? SPU’s Emily Reardon also tells WSB they’ll be at the next Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council meeting for a briefing (May 5, 6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library).

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Faster way to get the power back? Seattle City Light testing one http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/faster-way-to-get-the-power-back-seattle-city-light-testing-one/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/faster-way-to-get-the-power-back-seattle-city-light-testing-one/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 03:53:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306867 While West Seattle was spared power outages during this afternoon’s blustery weather (areas north and west of downtown got hit instead), we often aren’t so lucky. And this brings to mind new outage-response technology that Seattle City Light announced earlier this week. While WS isn’t part of the first round of testing, it might not be far behind if the pilot project works out. Ahead, the SCL news release, and what we found out on followup:

Seattle City Light will test automated switching technology in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park that is designed to speed the restoration of service when a power line is damaged.

The equipment is being installed on two feeder lines and is expected to be operational before storm season begins in the fall.

It detects outages, isolates the section of a circuit that is affected and then re-routes power to restore service to the areas that are not directly affected. All of this takes place in a matter of seconds.

“Customers will no longer have to wait for a crew to arrive for the first steps of power restoration to begin,” Energy Delivery Operations Director Bernie Ziemianek said. “And the crews will know where to go to make repairs, further speeding the restoration of service.”

City Light will test the equipment through storm season. If the equipment proves successful, the utility intends to install it on other feeder lines across its service territory.

The equipment, called distribution automation, is part of a larger effort to build a smarter grid in Seattle. Other components include technology to monitor and control substations, advanced meters and components to optimize the delivery of electricity to customers. As City Light installs this technology, the utility will be able to reduce energy losses, improve the integration of electricity generated by solar panels on customers’ roofs, and provide enhanced support for customers with electric vehicles.

“We are using technology to make our distribution system more reliable, our operations more efficient and to make sure that City Light remains the nation’s greenest utility,” said Michael Pesin, who is the architect of the Seattle Smart Grid.

We asked SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen, who sent the news release to media earlier in the week, about the cost, and which areas would be in line for installation if the north-end test is successful. His reply: “The initial cost for the pilot is $2 million. If the pilot goes well, there is $15.56 million more earmarked for expanding the project into other areas of our service territory through 2020. The approach is to identify circuits based on outage analysis and race and social justice considerations, so those feeder lines that have experienced a higher number of outages would get the equipment sooner.”

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How much will your water bill go up? Here’s what Seattle Public Utilities is proposing http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/how-much-will-your-water-bill-go-up-heres-what-seattle-public-utilities-is-proposing/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/how-much-will-your-water-bill-go-up-heres-what-seattle-public-utilities-is-proposing/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 19:49:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306769

That’s the slide deck the Seattle City Council‘s Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee will see during its meeting at 2 pm next Tuesday (April 14th), as it begins reviewing a water-rate increase proposed by Seattle Public Utilities, which just sent this preview:

In keeping with a strategic business plan approved by City Council last year, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is proposing drinking water rate increases of 1.7 percent for 2016 and 2.7 percent for 2017. The business plan aims at capping average rates for all SPU services — drinking water, sewer, drainage, garbage and recycling — to an annual average of 4.6 percent through the year 2020.

A drainage and wastewater rate proposal will be considered by Council later this year. That proposal also is expected to fit within the 4.6 percent average annual rate cap.

The Council will begin consideration of the water rate proposal next week.

Principal drivers of the proposed water rate increases include updated inflation assumptions and new investments identified in the strategic business plan such as preparing for water supply and utility system threats that may occur from climate change and developing a plan to better protect the drinking water system from earthquakes.

There was no increase in drinking water rates in 2015. Under today’s proposal, monthly bills for a typical single-family home would go from $38.93 this year to $39.68 in 2016 and $41.13 in 2017. Rates for a typical convenience store would go from $95.80 in 2015, to $97.35 in 2016 and $99.80 in 2017. A medium hotel could see an increase from $7,379 this year, to $7,486 in 2016 and $7,625 in 2017.

Last August, the Council adopted a six-year strategic business plan for Seattle Public Utilities, which maintains and improves essential services while holding annual rate increases — which had averaged almost 7 percent per year over the previous 10 years — to an annual average of 4.6 percent.

The strategic business plan was guided by an independent customer review panel that met 28 times beginning April 2013, and by an efficiency expert who scrutinized SPU’s business practices. The public had a say in the plan, too, through an extensive public outreach process that received input from residents and businesses throughout the city.

Seattle’s water system is wholly funded by rate and fee revenues related to water service. In any given year, these rates and fees must be sufficient to pay the total costs of the water system and meet adopted financial targets.

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What’s up down in the pit? Murray CSO project update http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/whats-up-down-in-the-pit-murray-cso-project-update/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/whats-up-down-in-the-pit-murray-cso-project-update/#comments Sun, 05 Apr 2015 01:56:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306067

A little over one year into major work at the site of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project‘s million-gallon storage tank, another phase has begun, according to a notice from King County: The outer wall and floor of the tank are done, and crews are now building its inner walls. That’s what you see in the photo above, which we took this afternoon through the fence along Lincoln Park Way over the northeast side of the site. The inner-wall work will mean “small concrete pours every week” through June, says the county, and possibly some Saturday work. Then this summer, according to the update, “the contractor expects to begin work to connect to the tank to the existing sewer system. This work will affect traffic on Beach Drive SW. King County will provide more information to the community before work begins.”

The Morgan Community Association has had Murray project updates at its quarterly meetings for quite a while now, so you’ll probably see one on the agenda for the April 15th MoCA meeting (7 pm, The Kenney), in case you have questions, which you can also take to the 24-hour project hotline – 206-205-9186. The project is supposed to be finished by fall of next year.

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Barton Pump Station Upgrade traffic alert for tomorrow; project ‘very close to being done’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/barton-pump-station-upgrade-traffic-alert-for-tomorrow-project-very-close-to-being-done/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/barton-pump-station-upgrade-traffic-alert-for-tomorrow-project-very-close-to-being-done/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:07:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305100

(WSB photo, taken today)
With another traffic advisory from King County Wastewater Treatment Division related to the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, we asked for an overall update. First – the traffic advisory:

The northern ferry lane entrance and toll booth will be closed for up to two hours starting at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, March 26. The closure is necessary to allow Seattle City Light crews to remove the temporary electrical system that has served the Barton Pump Station during construction. This work is part of construction wrap up for the Barton Pump Station Upgrade. Flaggers will be on hand to keep ferry and Fauntleroy traffic moving. Please call the project hotline with any questions or concerns: 206-296-2999.

Now the overall update: County spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson tells WSB that “the project is very close to being done. The art work is scheduled to come in in April, and landscaping and restoration is ongoing through spring. WTD is working with Friends of Cove Park to plan a June celebration for the public. We’ll offer pump station tours, and Friends of Cove Park will host a celebratory re-opening of the beach.” Cove Park closed in June 2012, as the construction got under way.

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Myrtle Reservoir retrofitting going out to bid, likely to start in fall http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/myrtle-reservoir-retrofitting-going-out-to-bid-likely-to-start-in-fall/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/myrtle-reservoir-retrofitting-going-out-to-bid-likely-to-start-in-fall/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 03:23:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304757

(West side of Myrtle Reservoir site, where work is likely to be staged)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Nine months after Seattle Public Utilities discussed the earthquake-resistance retrofit needed for West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, we know what’s in store for our area’s other underground water facility, Myrtle Reservoir.

Myrtle was covered in 2008, West Seattle in 2010. Then in 2012, their designer, MWH, told the city about “possible seismic deficiencies” in their work – not potentially catastrophic, but not something that could be ignored, either. Analysis and testing ensued, and in June of last year, we reported on the retrofit/strengthening plan for WS Reservoir, interviewing reps from SPU and its consultants.

At the time, they didn’t know exactly what would need to be done to Myrtle Reservoir, a relatively small reservoir (5 million gallons) at the city’s highest point on the east side of the Gatewood neighborhood. Now they do.

We contacted SPU after spotting a bid-solicitation notice this past week for the work that’s ahead at Myrtle and at Maple Leaf in North Seattle, and have since spoken with project manager Stephanie Murphy, to find out what will be done and what Myrtle neighbors and users of the nearby park will see.

It’s not as extensive as the work that had to be done at the much-larger West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, but from above ground, it’ll be more noticeable, since there’s no other work ongoing at Myrtle, unlike the other reservoir, where park-building has been continuing.

SPU has stressed that even with the design flaw, the reservoirs were/are not in danger of failing during an earthquake – but, as Murphy said in the case of West Seattle, could have been at risk of “extensive leakage.” (Our report from last June contained a fair amount of technical detail, if you’re interested.)

Murphy explained that they’ll be adding more steel and concrete to reinforce one row of the underground columns in Myrtle, compared to two rows of reinforcement in the Highland Park reservoir plus extra concrete in its columns. The price tag for the Myrtle work is $700,000, less than a tenth of what SPU said last year that the West Seattle Reservoir work would cost (they were “collaborating” with the designer about covering that cost, given that it wouldn’t have been necessary if the design hadn’t been flawed).

What will neighbors and park users see when the work is under way?

You might not notice much from the surface aside from staging; Murphy said the work will be mostly on the west side, accessing from Willow to the north, going around the treatment building, and staging on the flat grassy area west of the reservoir. She says they won’t have to dig it up – the existing stairwell into the reservoir is what they’ll use for all types of access throughout the project, whether it’s dropping in materials or pouring the concrete. The construction trailer will be relatively small, Murphy expects, because the job will be managed from the Maple Leaf site.


Myrtle is packaged for bidding with Maple Leaf (which is projected to cost more than $5 million) because SPU expects the same contractor to do both jobs, one “cell” at a time – the Maple Leaf reservoir has two cells, Myrtle one, so after getting going on the first cell at Maple Leaf, the contractor would embark on the Myrtle work, and then return to Maple Leaf. So the Myrtle timeline is likely mid-October through January, according to Murphy, assuming Maple Leaf starts in June. The reservoir will be out of service for a few weeks before the work and a few weeks after, since they’ll have to drain and rinse it, but that doesn’t mean a change in water service – they’ll route the supply from somewhere else.

Bids are due April 1st, so we’ll find out sometime next month who will be handling the work.

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Traffic alert: 2-week lane closure ahead at Fauntleroy terminal http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/traffic-alert-2-week-lane-closure-ahead-at-fauntleroy-terminal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/traffic-alert-2-week-lane-closure-ahead-at-fauntleroy-terminal/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:00:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=302024

Heads up for Fauntleroy ferry-terminal users and people who drive/ride/walk in the area: The wrapping-up-soon Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project just north of the terminal will close the north lane at the terminal for two weeks around the clock, starting next Monday (March 2nd). It’s “to enable construction on a retaining wall,” says Annie Kolb-Nelson from King County, adding: “Flaggers will be onsite during busy commute times to guide traffic.” P.S. Full details are on the newest flyer.

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Heads up for the week ahead: More new utility poles; SFD drills at the Murray CSO pit http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/heads-up-for-the-week-ahead-more-new-utility-poles-sfd-drills-at-the-murray-cso-pit/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/heads-up-for-the-week-ahead-more-new-utility-poles-sfd-drills-at-the-murray-cso-pit/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 02:08:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=301828 In addition to the Admiral Way road work on Tuesday/Wednesday (thanks again to Mike for the tip; we noticed today that the no-parking signs are up, confirming it), two more FYIs for the week ahead:

UTILITY POLE REPLACEMENT: This work has been under way for months and Shauna says her neighborhood, SW Kenyon between 39th and 41st in Gatewood, appears to be next, with no-parking signs up and new poles already delivered. Outages often accompany pole replacement work; Shauna hadn’t received any such notice, but we’ll be checking with SCL tomorrow. Checking around the City Light website, by the way, we noticed something interesting – an explanation of why new utility poles tend to, well, stink for a while.

SFD AT MURRAY CSO: Doug Marsano from King County says the Seattle Fire Department will use the million-gallon-tank construction site across from Lowman Beach for drills next Saturday:

Please be aware that the Seattle Fire Department plans to conduct drills at the project site for 3-4 hours on Saturday, February 28. You can expect to see fire trucks and personnel working at the site that day, but no project work is currently scheduled. More information about the Fire Department’s plans will be provided next week. Please contact the project hotline: 206-205-9186 with any questions or concerns.

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Followup: Repairs finished, early, at Lowman Beach Park http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/followup-repairs-finished-early-at-lowman-beach-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/followup-repairs-finished-early-at-lowman-beach-park/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 23:31:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300615

(Photo courtesy SPU)
Update from Seattle Public Utilities: Repair work has finished early for the culvert that carries Pelly Creek and storm drainage to the outfall in the north section of the Lowman Beach Park seawall. The work started last Wednesday, was projected to last up to 10 working days, but was complete by this morning, according to Elaine Leung of SPU. Engineers will continue to survey the seawall weekly for the next few months.

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West Seattle utility-work alert: Early warning of possible waterlessness for a day or two or three next month http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/west-seattle-utility-work-alert-early-warning-of-possible-waterlessness-for-a-day-or-two-or-three-next-month/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/west-seattle-utility-work-alert-early-warning-of-possible-waterlessness-for-a-day-or-two-or-three-next-month/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 18:17:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300420

If you live along 36th or 37th SW between SW Brandon and SW Morgan, you should get that alert in your postal mail today or Monday, says Seattle Public Utilities, which wants to make sure you know about a big but relatively brief project that might affect your water service at some point March 11th, 12th, and/or 13th, and mailed the notice to “the project area” on Friday. Depending on what they find, it might just be a prelude to something even bigger. But at least you have five weeks now to plan ahead. (If you can’t see/scroll through the notice above, here’s the PDF version.)

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West Seattle power-outage update: Underground cable to blame http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/west-seattle-power-outage-update-might-not-be-back-until-afternoon/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/west-seattle-power-outage-update-might-not-be-back-until-afternoon/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 18:57:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300139

10:57 AM: The power outage affecting more than 60 homes on western Charlestown Hill is in its 10th hour and the estimated time of restoration has been pushed back again until after 1 pm. We’re waiting to hear back from Seattle City Light on details regarding the “equipment failure” listed on the outage map as its cause, and we’ll add an update here when that information is available.

1:33 PM: Still out, according to SCL map, which now describes restoration as “pending.” SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB, “The crew working on this outage is still trying to determine what piece of equipment failed. This can be a challenge with underground facilities where you can’t just look at the cable and see whether it is intact or damaged. They work through a progression to identify the section of line where the problem exists, including checks on transformers and connections. In some cases, it can require digging up the last section of cable to find the damaged spot and make the repair.”

3:37 PM: Just checked the outage map, and this is no longer listed – if you don’t have your power back, though, be sure City Light knows!

4:46 PM: Update from SCL’s Thomsen – an underground-cable failure caused this outage, as was also the case in an early-morning outage in southwest West Seattle about two weeks ago.

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Another early-morning power outage: 81 customers affected http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/another-early-morning-power-outage-81-customers-out/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/another-early-morning-power-outage-81-customers-out/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 11:33:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299107

Thanks to the person who texted to let us know about this: Another early-morning power outage. This one is affecting 81 customers, according to Seattle City Light‘s outage map (desktop version here, mobile version here), in three spots – Roxhill and south of northeast Arbor Heights. SCL’s map says the cause is under investigation and estimates restoration time by 6 am, though we always caution, that’s a guess – could be sooner or later.

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