Austin Energy repairs damaged utility poles on Bee Caves after 18-wheeler takes them down

September 18, 2018

On Tuesday morning, Austin Energy crews completed repairs on downed utility poles and lines on Bee Caves Road near Loop 360 and finished safely restoring power to all customers.

Thirty two Austin Energy team members worked overnight to make the repairs. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) said Bee Caves Road was back open by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

TCSO said an 18-wheeler hauling a tall load struck lines causing them to break three utility poles and damage power lines Monday night. The crash resulted in an outage for more than 1,000 Austin Energy customers. The driver did not immediately realize they had taken the lines down. Authorities say the driver was on their correct route and had the proper permits.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. and crews were on hand by 7 p.m. in order to secure the area and make it safe. Bee Caves Road was shut down in order for crews to make the necessary repairs.

By 8 p.m., crews were able to safely restore power to 95 percent of customers. At 8:36 p.m., an additional 50 customers were restored. The remaining 20 customers had their service restored by Tuesday morning.

Austin Energy completed the repairs and cleared equipment from the road around 8 a.m. Tuesday. However, work on telecommunication lines by responding communications companies continued into Tuesday afternoon to re-attach the lines to Austin Energy’s poles.

For up-to-date outage information, check Austin Energy’s outage map.

Austin Energy would like to remind everyone to never touch a downed power line. The minimum safe distance from a downed power line is 35 feet. If you are presented with a downed power line, please report it by calling 3-1-1.

Stay Safe When a Power Line Is Down

If a broken power line falls on your vehicle and you cannot safely drive away:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Warn others not to touch the vehicle. Ask them to call 9-1-1 if you are unable to call.
  • Do not leave the vehicle unless it becomes unsafe due to immediate dangers, such as fire or smoke. You may leave the vehicle when someone from Austin Energy tells you it is safe to do so. 
  • If you must leave the vehicle because of fire or other danger, jump as far away from the vehicle as possible. Land with both feet on the ground at the same time. 
  • Never touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. 
  • After exiting the vehicle, keep your feet together and "hop" away. Don't run! Never lift a foot. You must either shuffle your feet in tiny steps, with your feet never leaving the ground, or you can hop keeping your feet together. Separating your feet can create two contact points with the ground and can result in a shock if the ground is energized by a fallen wire.

If you observe a fallen power line on a vehicle:

  • Stay at least 35 feet away from the downed line.
  • If someone is in the vehicle, call 9-1-1.
  • Call Austin Energy at 512-322-9100 and report the location of the line.
  • Do not approach or make contact with the person or vehicle. Wait for emergency personnel.

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