Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews will be replacing high-voltage electric transmission wires across Highway 101 in Burlingame tonight after a third party doing construction work severely damaged a tower and related electrical equipment on Friday night. PG&E is partnering with the California Highway Patrol and Caltrans to allow the work to be conducted safely, without any risk to employees or the public.
Caltrans and the CHP will close the freeway in both directions tonight from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Southbound lanes will be closed at Millbrae Avenue and northbound lanes will be closed at Anza Boulevard to allow PG&E to restring power lines from one transmission tower to temporary poles that were erected Saturday to replace the severely damaged tower.
PG&E, Caltrans and the CHP appreciate the patience and cooperation of the public, and will work to reopen the freeway as quickly as is safely possible. This repair work is being done during the late evening and early morning to mitigate impact to Bay Area drivers. Caltrans and the CHP recommend delaying any unnecessary driving if possible during this time or using alternate routes through the area, such as Interstate 280 and El Camino Real.
“Our partner agencies have done a tremendous job to help make the situation safe for the public and assist in this major repair and restoration effort. We appreciate the patience of the public, the hard work of our employees to safely and quickly address the situation, and the combined partnership of CHP, Caltrans, Burlingame Fire Department and Burlingame Police Department throughout this ongoing and significant event,” said Jason Regan, director of Emergency Management at PG&E.
“In times of an emergency, we automatically look to allied agencies such as local law enforcement and fire departments to assist us in fulfilling our mission of making sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day. We have a great working relationship with PG&E and Caltrans. We are glad to have the opportunity to work with them and observe their crews working tirelessly day and night during this emergency,” said Officer Arturo Montiel, Public Information Officer for CHP.
“Safety is our shared commitment. Our partners at PG&E, CHP, and local first responders were on the scene immediately securing the safety of motorists and the workers during this project,” said Caltrans District Director Bijan Sartipi.
A non-PG&E third-party contractor, Jafec USA, severely damaged a major transmission tower that carries power to the Peninsula and San Francisco on Friday night, bringing high-voltage power lines down onto the freeway, city streets and a pedestrian walkway. PG&E and first responders, including the CHP and local police and fire agencies, worked to make the area safe as quickly as possible, resulting in no injuries.
A crane operated by the contractor buckled the tower, and the resulting strain on the transmission wires caused damage to the two other connected transmission towers. Caltrans provided three 80-foot wooden poles to allow PG&E to quickly construct a temporary replacement for the most seriously damaged tower.
PG&E had electric first responders on site within 10 minutes of the accident, and additional resources and crews from across Northern California were dispatched to the scene. Specialized equipment, personnel and vehicles are integral for a repair job of this magnitude on a primary artery of the electric system.