By Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KHNL) - Windy gusts are being blamed for a number of problems, from rough seas to power outages. The strong winds sweeping over the state have also left some with more than just worry hanging over their heads. High winds have damaged a number of utility poles in the state.
This utility pole that crashed onto a bus in Kaimuki on Friday is the highest profile accident, but not the only one. Here's one on Farrington Street in McCully with caution tape around the base. It was leaning over earlier Saturday. And the wind blew over many poles on the Leeward side last week. Oahu drivers like Kahuna Pahia say it's a scary sight. "It can fall on cars, across highways, and make it difficult to get across. It's very scary, especially what it can do during our rainy season."
Hawaiian Electric Company officials say they're working on it as fast as they can. There are about 70,000 utility poles on Oahu. HECO says it inspects each of them about every 5 years. Spokesman Darren Pai says, "We inspect more than 15,000 a year. Inspectors look for the structural integrity of the pole."
HECO says new poles have a termite-preventative mesh barrier at the bottom. But there are many factors that cause poles to tilt or fall. Pai continues, "Some termite, water damage, other environmental conditions like the soil in the ground."
HECO could use your help. If you notice a damaged utility pole, report it to their trouble line.
Trouble Service Center
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