New power lines run through the Park; more work to be done to get elevator back in service.
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is open three days earlier (4/13) than anticipated after it was originally closed to allow new power lines to be run through the Park to the top of the mountain. Duke Power had anticipated that the work would take a week to complete, but a determined crew and nice weather shortened the time by half.
Five crews consisting of 25-30 men from Duke Power’s Sumter Utilities, Inc., worked for 26 hours, completing the project in just two days, said Tim Smeardon, Contractor Specialist for Duke Power, who oversaw the work.
“Our men worked from sunup to sundown on Monday, April 11, and began again at sunup the next morning. They ran about 1 ½ miles of line, half of which was not vehicle accessible, through the Park and finished at about 6pm on Tuesday, April 12,” said Smeardon.
“Every power pole through the Park was reframed,” said Smeardon, meaning that a new third conductor was added to each pole’s existing two. Three crews from Asheville, one from Spindale and one from Hendersonville joined forces to get the work done.
“We cannot be more pleased with the progress that has been made,” said Stephen Tillotson, Acting Superintendent of Chimney Rock State Park. “We’re grateful to Duke Power for their dedication and efficiency in getting the power lines run.”
Intermittent power has played havoc with the dependable operation of the elevator that is inside the mountain at the Park since it was modernized. Efforts are now focused on getting information from elevator companies about the fabrication and installation of equipment that was compromised due to the power issues.
“We’re looking forward to the day that we can announce to our guests and industry partners that the elevator is back in service,” said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. “At this time, we have no timeframe for when this will happen but will post updates at chimneyrockpark.com as we get them. We feel fortunate that the State is dedicated to continuing to provide this unique access to the mountain for folks of all abilities.”