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Schools Closed Again Friday as Bernards Remains Mostly Without Power

Residents asked to check township website and social media.

The Bernards Township police headquarters is running on generator power and will charge electronic devices for residents who drop them off with labels as to the owners. However, police and township officials cautioned that many major roads, including Maple and Finley avenues, remain blocked and traveling still is difficult.

Bernards Schools are closed on Friday, according to the latest update on the Bernards Township website.

Bernards Township officials will follow the governor's executive orders and reschedule Halloween for next Monday, according to township clerk Denise Szabo.

There also are downed wires, and dark homes this evening, said Bernards Township Committeeman John Malay.

Township Administrator Bruce McArthur said that as of Wednesday morning there was no timeline for when power would be returned to the township. Schools were closed, and there were no reliable reports of local gas stations open. McArthur said obtaining fuel could be a problem for township operations in the upcoming days, even for public workers already removing trees.

Cell phone reception also was spotty through the town. Malay said on Wednesday that the cell reception tower behind the police station had been damaged during the storm.

Power return could be weeks away in some situations

Malay said that in a briefing with JCP&L earlier on Wednesday, the power company said that high transmission wires and substations damaged by Sandy would be top priority, followed by "circuits that will take the least amount of time and will have the most customers."

But he said that restoration of power in the area "could be weeks in some situations." Malay said that if 100 percent of power of township homes don't have power, it's "pretty darn close."

Power restoration could be "weeks in some situations," he said.

Malay said he believes that Fellowship Village retirement center has back-up generators, and Ridge Oak Senior Housing has heat for residents.

Reminder that trees among live wires cannot be removed by town workers or others

As before, McArthur said that trees entangled with live wires cannot be removed. Officials asked that residents stay away from all wires.

Subcontractors who said they were working for JCP&L were spotted in The Hills, including along streets in Bedminster.

Meanwhile, Police Capt. Ed Byrnes said, "We have received a few calls from people who need to charge electronic devices. Residents will need to bring their chargers with them. Devices will be charged and returned in a secure area of headquarters," he said. Nevertheless, he said police still encourage people to use car chargers or [charge devices at] neighbors who may have generators as traveling is still difficult.
 
As of Wednesday morning, he suggested current directions to headquarters are:
Mount Airy Road to Lake Road; make left onto Flint Rock Road to end/right onto Kinnan Way.

Then to stop sign, left onto Lake Road to traffic light, left onto South Finley, right onto Collyer Lane.

Downtown Basking Ridge, blocked to the north and south by trees, also can be reached from Route 287 to Mount Airy Road north, and right on West Oak Street. However, Collyer must be reached from South Maple Avenue. Bernardsville, also stricken with a townwide power outage, also can be reached via Mount Airy Road north from exit 26 off Route 287.

McArthur said roads that are open include Valley and Stonehouse roads, Cross Road and Mount Airy Road. Traffic lights were not working as of this morning.

Posted on township website as of Wednesday at 3 p.m.

We are happy to report there were no deaths in Bernards Township and only minor injuries associated with Hurricane Sandy. There was no major flooding and nostructural fires reported.

Most if not all JCP&L customers in Bernards Township are without power. JCP&L is actively conducting damage assessment in Bernards Township to prioritize their efforts in order to restore power. JCP&L has begun repair work.

To    report    a    power    outage,    please    call    1-888-544-4877.    Visit http://outages.firstenergycorp.com/nj.html to view current outage maps of our area. IMPORTANT: Please do not touch utility lines. Power lines, even if not energized can pose a significant threat to life as they are energized during repair work. Due to the widespread effects of this storm, residents should be prepared for an extensive period without power.

Utility tree crews are already working in town to clear main roads.

The Bernards Township Police Department is open as a Charging Station. Residents can bring their devices to Police Headquarters at 1 Collyer Lane, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.. First come first served.

Bernards Township Schools are closed for Thursday, November 1.

Residents should make every effort to shelter in place. Bernardsville’s shelter is open at the Bernards High School lower level. Residents in need can report there but occupancy is limited.

The Somerset County Business Partnership, at 360 Grove Street, Bridgewater, is open to get a cup of coffee, charge your devices, get warm or handle your basic business needs between 8 a.m.  to 4 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday.

Somerset Valley YMCA, 2 Green Street, Somerville, 908-722-4567, is open to the public for showers.

Gov. Chris Christie today signed Executive Order 105, postponing Halloween
celebrations across New Jersey until Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 as a result of continued  unsafe conditions in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The township will not be collecting storm debris. Roads to Pill Hill Recycling Center are impassable but once access in cleared expanded hours will be announced for residents to drop off storm debris. Commercial vehicles will be allowed in if accompanied by a resident with either a valid township-issued Pill Hill Recycling pass or proof of residency.

Bernards Township Office of Emergency Management advises that there should be no unnecessary travel on the roadways as it puts our citizens at risk and hinders emergency responders.

For information on food and water safety go online.

Bernards Township will send out regular communications every 3 hours between 9 AM and 9 PM through Website, Facebook, Twitter, Nixle, and Bernards Township Email Subscription List.

We will provide as much information as possible and as soon as it is available. Please check on your neighbors and the elderly. Call 9-1-1 only in an emergency.

Detailed road information is on the website.

cj November 01, 2012 at 12:41 AM
How about giving a timeline to start with
CraiginNJ November 01, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I appreciate their website's status table updates and info about available services. It seems to a little progress, though only slowly. I wish we could see some progress from the elec co here. The biggest problem, though, remains lack of any gas stations in the township or nearby. The gas locations they list are so far away that I don't whether to laugh or cry.
John D November 01, 2012 at 12:44 PM
John in BR I understand that safety is always a huge issue regarding personnel working in the field. And someone has to remain vigilant at each work site to make sure the people with the chain saws and other heavy equipment maintain safe working conditions. And the words "live wires" is also key. Hopefully, the utility company can provide some clarity into the areas which are safe for workers to remove trees which prevent emergency service access. The sooner the roads are safe for vehicles, the easier it is for the utility company to restore services. Power return could be weeks away in some situations Malay said that in a briefing with JCP&L earlier on Wednesday, the power company said that high transmission wires and substations damaged by Sandy would be top priority, followed by "circuits that will take the least amount of time and will have the most customers." But he said that restoration of power in the area "could be weeks in some situations." Malay said that if 100 percent of power of township homes don't have power, it's "pretty darn close." Power restoration could be "weeks in some situations," he said. Reminder that trees among live wires cannot be removed by town workers or others As before, McArthur said that trees entangled with live wires cannot be removed. Officials asked that residents stay away from all wires. Subcontractors who said they were working for JCP&L were spotted in The Hills, including along streets in Bedminster.
Peter November 01, 2012 at 05:51 PM
THERE ARE NO LIVE POWER LINES!!!!! MOVE THE F'ing TREES!!!!!!!!!
C. McWilliams November 01, 2012 at 07:04 PM
In case folks are wondering...all rest/gas stops from Exit 7 South on turnpike had gas this morning. Most had no lines at all, they were happy to fill cars and multiple gas cans. We drove to Maryland to pick up a generator, ice, and gas (when we are closer to home). Might sound ridiculous, but nice to see places up and running! Felt good to be proactive instead of feeling like victims hearing there is no gas, no ice, no power. Remember to check on your neighbors, we will get through this.
G in BR November 01, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Recent updates said "in some situations it could be weeks". Will the residents that this pertains to be notified? For those of us without generators, two weeks is a very long time!

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