[UPDATED] 5:45 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 1
Bristow Middle School will remain closed on Thursday.
A call was received from the superintendent's office at 5:45 a.m., indicating that power has not yet been installed at Bristow, and the school will be unable to open as planned.
Further details will be provided later in the day.
There was a great deal of progress made in West Hartford Wednesday, as all but one of the town's closed roads reopened and the number of customers without power was cut in half. However, for those still waiting for an estimate on their restoration, it may not have felt like progress.
"Today was a day of frustration for a lot of people," said West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka Wednesday evening. He said he fielded dozens of phone calls and emails Wednesday from people who had been trying fruitlessly to get an estimate from CL&P regarding their power restoration.
In his 6 p.m. recorded announcement to residents, Slifka reported that 2,949 residents were still without power, down from approximately 4,000 the previous day, and he expected that another 1,500 would have power restored by noon on Thursday, leaving about 5 percent of the town in the dark. By 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, CL&P's outage chart already showed an improvement, with 2,049 customers (7 percent) still awaiting restoration.
"Our CL&P liaison, Anne Bartosewicz, has been excellent," Slifka said, adding that the director of public works and fire chief also had good things to say about her. The problem, he said, has been with CL&P's direct customer relations – the phone system that will not provide customers with the information they desperately seek about a timeframe for power restoration.
Slifka said that frustrations have been shared with CL&P, and that they are "working on it."
CL&P will announce its statewide restoration timetable on Thursday.
The Department of Public Works, which continued clearing blocked streets Wednesday, confirmed that CL&P's ground crews had been cooperative, everything had been "made safe," and the effort had moved into "full restoration mode."
Public Works Director John Phillips said that removal of the tree blocking Cherryfield Drive had been the "most commented upon and most challenging" project to complete. CL&P had finally de-energized the downed power lines by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, he said, but because the tree had fallen right where the lines crossed the road and took down all of the lines including three-inch diameter communications wires and a pole, the clean-up was complicated and required coordination with other companies.
By early afternoon Wednesday, the tree had been cleared. By late afternoon, the Department of Public Works, frustrated with waiting for both AT&T and Comcast to move the communications lines, went ahead and completely cleared and opened Cherryfield Drive.
On Wednesday, Public Works crews were also at work on Flagg Road, Van Buren, Trout Brook, Boulevard, South Highland, and Hunter Drive. Only a portion of Hamilton Avenue remained closed Wednesday night.
"Our crews are working every hour they can," said Phillips. Public Works can clear the trees, but the utility companies must replace poles and repair damaged lines. "The power won't go on just because I remove a tree," Phillips said.
However, Phillips said that there is a "huge difference" compared to a year ago, with much more headway being made by day two than at the same point in the wake of last October's storm.
Progress was made Wednesday restoring power to schools, and it is anticipated that all West Hartford Public Schools will be open on time Thursday according to Assistant Superintendent Tom Moore.
CL&P rewired around damaged substations which restored power to Aiken and Charter Oak. Bristow is likely to have power by 2 a.m. Thursday and should be able to open. "If not, you will get a message from your principal," Moore said.
Kingswood Oxford School had power restored Wednesday evening, and will reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Elmwood Community Center will remain a "convenience center" for charging electronics, and will open at 6 a.m. Thursday to accommodate those who need early morning showers.
Cornerstone Aquatics Center and Veterans Memorial Rink now have power, and both facilities will be open on Thursday.
Any storm-related questions should be directed to West Hartford's Emergency Reporting Center at 860-523-2020.