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High winds hamper power restoration efforts in Maine on Thursday

Crews work to restore power on Tuesday.
Esta Pratt-Kielley
Maine Public
Crews work to restore power on Tuesday.

Gusty winds added to the challenge of restoring power to tens of thousands of electricity customers across Maine on Thursday, although hundreds of line crews continue the work.

Jon Breed, a spokesman for Central Maine Power, says Thursday's gusty winds caused a few thousand additional outages, but that the overall number of customers without power continues to fall. As of 7:15 a.m. Friday morning, more than 47,000 customers were without power between CMP and Versant Power.

Breed said there is still an "incredible amount of damage" in some places. But he says it is up to the line supervisors and individual crews to decide whether conditions are safe enough to send a lineman up in a bucket.

"It's between 30 to 35 mph winds, depending on the type of work that is being done. So in instances where maybe the winds will pick up, individual crews will make the calls, 'OK, maybe we need to stop for safety.' They'll wait for the winds to pass and then they will get back to work.

A spokesperson for Versant said Thursday’s winds, which were gusting 25 to 30 mph in many areas, had not hampered their crews' restoration efforts. Instead, Tina Morrill says the challenge continues to be the extent of the damage.

Nearly 60 roads and bridges across Maine remained closed because of flooding or flood-related damage as of Thursday afternoon.

According to the Maine Department of Transportation, roughly two-thirds of the closures were located in three counties: Franklin, Kennebec and Oxford.

At its peak on Tuesday, nearly 100 state-owned roads and three dozen bridges had been closed.

But by Thursday afternoon, the DOT reported 41 roads and 18 bridges were still blocked to through-traffic. One of those was the Frank J. Wood Bridge, which carries traffic over the Androscoggin River along Route 201 between Brunswick and Topsham. The DOT says the bridge should reopen before the holiday weekend.