All lanes of U.S. 23 will remain detoured for several more days just north of the Industrial Parkway (milepoint 8.6) in Greenup County as a safety precaution while American Electric Power works at a tower carrying overhead transmission lines, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Kentucky Power.
The highway closed Monday night so AEP engineers could evaluate a 765-kilovolt transmission line tower after portions of the structure and several insulators were found hanging improperly after recent ice storms.
At the company’s request, KYTC has extended the closure to ensure public safety as work and repairs continue over the next few days.
Until further notice, all U.S. 23 traffic is detoured using Ky. 67, Ky. 207 and Ky. 1 along the following routes:
• Northbound U.S. 23: Turn left on Ky. 67 south at Wurtland, travel Ky. 67 for 4 miles, then exit right onto Ky. 207, and follow Ky. 207 to Ky. 1 north to return to U.S. 23 at Greenup.
• Southbound U.S. 23: Turn right on Ky. 1 south, travel Ky. 1 for nearly 5 miles, then turn left on Ky. 207 toward Flatwoods, then at the interchange take Ky. 67 north to return to U.S. 23 at Wurtland.
Because heavy traffic and delays are expected along the detour route, all through traffic between the Ashland and Portsmouth areas — or U.S. 23 destinations farther north and south — should consider alternate routes such as U.S. 52 through Ohio.
The detour route might not be ideal for tractor trailers and large commercial vehicles. Those vehicles are advised to avoid the area and seek alternate routes if possible.
As of Tuesday morning, Kentucky Power crews were addressing power outages using more than 2,000 line employees, foresters and assessors to ensure every customer is restored. At the peak, 59,000 customers were without power.
Around 6,445 customers remained without power on Tuesday morning — mostly in Boyd County with 2,370 customers out; Carter County with 1,582 customers out and Lawrence County (2,261).
Kentucky Power has completed restoration to approximately 89% of customers who have been part of the February ice and snow events.
There are hundreds of outage cases or places crews still have to address. In these areas the work is difficult, according to the power company.
The southern part of Carter County is proving to be the hardest-hit area where crews have found extensive damage to circuits. Most customers in the Hitchins, Big Sandy, Williard, Denton and Coalton areas will have power restored before or by the end of the week.
In Boyd and Lawrence Counties, it is expected that most customers or 95% will be restored by today. There are pockets of outages that will still remain beyond that date and restoration work in these areas continues. Restoration for some of these remaining outlying areas of these counties may extend through the end of the week.
Customers in the Morehead and Olive Hill area should have power back today. A few small pockets of customers may extend through end of the week.
Other counties affected by the storms are at least 95% restored.
Call 1-800-572-1113 to get the most up-to-date and more specific estimated restoration information. Visit kentuckypower.com, follow @KentuckyPower on Twitter or visit the Kentucky Power Facebook page for more information.