Interstate 64 tree clearing goes off without a hitch

Jackson Newspapers
Jackson Newspapers

A plan to use a helicopter to cut trees out of power lines over Interstate 64 near Kenova this morning went off without a hitch.

The operation went so well, in fact, that it was over before some people were even aware of it.

Last week's ice storm dropped trees into power lines along I-64, creating the potential for the power lines to collapse. Monday morning, crews with American Electric Power used a helicopter with an aerial saw to cut the tree out of the lines at approximately 10 a.m.

West Virginia Division of Highways officials warned motorists in advance that the operation might require temporary road closures for those traveling east on I-64 between mile markers 1 and 6. However, Scott Eplin, District Engineer for WVDOH District 2, said that, ultimately, the road closures weren’t necessary.

“They cut it and it went like clockwork,” Eplin said.

AEP officials weren’t sure how the high-tension power lines might react once the weight of the tree was removed, so they coordinated with WVDOH to ensure maximum safety for travelers on the interstate.

“A lot of what we did was precautionary in case things went afoul,” Eplin said. “We planned for the worst-case scenario.”

Instead, AEP flew in, cut the tree, and left with little fanfare.