Nine roads were still blocked in Northport late Monday and Mayor George Doll has no timetable for when they’ll be cleared.
It’s not for lack of trying. Now eight days after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the region, Doll is as in the dark as any other resident when it comes to the Long Island Power Authority.
Doll and other village officials have been on the phone daily with LIPA. But when the mayor went to the temporary command center set up off Pulaski Road in Greenlawn he was shooed away.
“Very frustrating,” Doll said.
LIPA has whittled a list that included 20 blocked roads Friday down to just nine. But the utility has shown little ability to coordinate with the village, according to Doll.
That’s vital because village employees can help clear debris and tree limbs from the street once LIPA crews cut them away from power lines, allowing the utility crews to work faster and more efficiently. Northport employees are forbidden by law from working on trees or limbs hanging from or touching wires.
“When do I hope to have power back? Tomorrow,” Doll said wistfully. “But LIPA doesn’t answer to me.”
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That’s cold comfort to the 414 Northport customers still without power. Still another 1,070 homes in Greenlawn, 1,007 in East Northport, 560 in Centerport, 558 in Elwood, 65 in Eatons Neck and 29 in Asharoken are in the dark.
Residents seeking answers at Village Hall have come away with none.
“I’m not complaining,” one woman told Doll. She was looking to know when her dark block of Cherry Street will get power back. “I just want to know.”
Northport streets still blocked are: Union Place, Fox Lane, Scudder Place, Chestnut Circle, Burt Avenue, Mariners Lane, Okleigh Place, Cherry Street and Locust Road.
Part of the problem, according to Doll, is a shortage of power poles. Most of the streets still blocked have shattered poles.
He’s offered Scudder Beach as a staging area for LIPA equipment because the sooner all roads get cleared, the sooner power is restored. But the village has another public safety motivator behind opening roadways.
“Priority is to have no section of street inaccessible by fire trucks,” Doll said.
The mayor saw power restored to his Seaview home Saturday night. So he’s lived in the dark and can empathize with any resident still without power.
Yet all he can do is keep calling. It’s a problem bigger than one local official.
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