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Clearing the path of destruction: Crews replacing poles blocking Rt. 140 in Westminster

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Aug 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-09 17:27:39-04

WESTMINSTER, Md. — A matter of seconds before straight-line winds took down utility poles along Route 140 trapping dozens of motorists, Christian Eckhardt was standing outside his Westminster home watching the storm when his sister called from Florida warning him to take cover, and he barely made it to his front door.

“It was just a sheer of wet and vertical wind and that must have been the wind, itself, that came up here and caused the damage,” said Eckhardt.

“So if you had stayed outside another 60 seconds?” we asked.

“You bet. I would have flown away,” he replied.

On Wednesday, crews began dismantling and removing 30 fallen utility poles, replacing them with new ones throughout the day.

In the bigger picture, BGE says this is an all-hand-on-deck event after Monday’s storm, and they have some three thousand employees all devoted to that effort, as well as bringing in outside crews from as far away as Illinois, South Carolina and Ohio.

That helped in restoring power to more than 32,000 customers by Wednesday morning in Carroll County alone, including a number of retailers at the 140 Village Shopping Center like Mission BBQ, which also was using a massive generator to get back to business.

“Since we had some food, we wanted to make sure we took care of the BGE crew and just anybody who was just kind of around,” said the restaurant’s area director, Chris Black, “We always take care of our responders, but the BGE guys that were out here were talking. They’re working 16, 17, 18-hour shifts so we did what we could to make sure they’re out there alive.”

A large degree of damage matched only by the effort to restore the infrastructure, the power and the roads back to some semblance of normalcy.

“It’s just an amazing marvel of damage,” said Eckhardt, “My sister, I texted her again. I said, ‘You ought to pull it up. I’m sure it’s hit the national wires. It’s been a really catastrophic event. We have a Main Street in Westminster and it’s just inundated with traffic where they’re using the bypass.”