Mayor John Callahan praised city employees for handling more than 550 calls since Hurricane Sandy began pummeling the region last night.
In Bethlehem alone, Sandy knocked down 150 trees that blocked traffic. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 100 of these trees were cleared.
Callahan commented, “All residents of the City of Bethlehem should be proud of the hard work of city employees during and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Our first responders worked tirelessly through remarkably difficult conditions last night and early this morning and the rest of the City Water, Public Works and Parks crews went right to work early this morning to clean up the destruction left behind by Sandy. I really commend their efforts.”
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, City Hall remains without power. The 911 center is still operating on back up generator. With no anticipated time for return of power to City Hall, the public should contact City Hall tomorrow before attempting to stop in and conduct business.
Fire has returned to regular staffing. During the height of the storm last night 40 firefighters were out responding to 130 calls.
The city has responded to 550 calls throughout Monday night and into Tuesday.
Hurricane Sandy knocked down 150 trees that blocked traffic. On Tuesday starting at 4 a.m. the city had five crews working on cleaning up the destruction caused by Sandy. The city will leave one crew on over night to continue with clean up efforts and will restart a full force clean up effort tomorrow morning with four crews. As of p.m. this evening, 100 of the 150 trees blocking traffic were clearedl 25 trees cannot be moved without PPL assistance and city crews will work on the additional 25 trees tonight and through tomorrow.
Sixty out of the 122 traffic signals in the city are without power. The city is using generators to power five of the more critical intersections all of them in the Southside area near five points, 3rd street and 378. An additional 12 intersections have temporary four-way stop signs.
If you are on the road and come upon an intersection with a traffic signal not working, you must treat that as a four way intersection. Some of the intersections suffered significant damage beyond loss of power, so even if re-energized, additional work is required to get all traffic intersections up and functioning.
The city water and sanitary sewer facilities are without power. The water system is working on temporary power and we do not anticipate any interruption in service. Until such time that electrical service is restored temporary power will be used.
The Waste Water Treatment Plant is without power as well. PPL has identified the problem at the plant as a significant transmission failure and one of 52 critical high priority facilities needing power. Although restoring power to the plant is a high priority for PPL there is no anticipated time for restoration as of 5 p.m. The City does not expect any interruption of its sanitary service.
“I can assure you that we will do everything in our power clean up the City and restore City services as soon as possible”, said Callahan. "We will continue to work with PPL to remove trees and downed wires and get our water and waste water facilities operating properly. We ask that you remain patient as everyone tries to clean up after this terrible storm."