Region getting back to normal after Hurricane Irene

In the Westgate Hills section of Havertown, residents still without power on Tuesday. Here, Jim Cahill and his daughter, Laura Cahill, 17; play with the new flashlights he's just purchased. (April Saul / Staff Photographer)
In the Westgate Hills section of Havertown, residents still without power on Tuesday. Here, Jim Cahill and his daughter, Laura Cahill, 17; play with the new flashlights he's just purchased. (April Saul / Staff Photographer) (INQUIRER)
Posted: August 30, 2011

Three days after Hurricane Irene swamped the region, damage assessments and repairs were continuing Tuesday, and some services had returned to normal.

With floodwaters in retreat in Trenton, Amtrak maintenance crews began to repair tracks and other equipment to allow trains to operate between Philadelphia and New York.

Flooding at the Trenton train station had created a bottleneck in the middle of the busy Northeast Corridor, forcing Amtrak, NJ Transit, and SEPTA to suspend service on portions of the line.

Some trains may be able to run between Philadelphia, Trenton, and New York on Wednesday if track and signal repairs are completed. On other commuter lines and Amtrak routes, most service was restored Tuesday.

SEPTA trains returned to normal service, except on the Trenton line, where trains were ending their runs at Levittown. For the Wednesday morning rush hour, SEPTA service will still end at Levittown on the Trenton line, spokesman Richard Maloney said.

In Bucks County, about 15,000 residents were without power by midafternoon, down from close to 75,000 early Monday.

"The power outages are still the big thing," county spokesman Christopher Edwards said, although businesses and homeowners in Hulmeville and Yardley were still cleaning up from flooding.

"In all honesty, it wasn't as bad as some of the Delaware River projections had made it out to be on Sunday morning," Edwards said.

Two bridges on River Road, both in Solebury Township, remained closed, along with a handful of roads, said Gene Blaum, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In Montgomery County, fewer than 4,000 residents were left without power Tuesday afternoon, including a handful in Horsham. A Peco Energy Co. representative said the power company hoped to finish repair work on the county's lines Wednesday evening.

PennDot officials said they would restrict Route 422 to one lane in both directions during much of Thursday while they inspected the highway for damage.

Damage assessments were ongoing in Delaware and Chester Counties. On Tuesday, Peco reported 15,500 customers still without power, said Edwin J. Truitt, Delaware County emergency-services director.

In Chester County, the hardest hit areas were Avondale, Downingtown, Phoenixville, and Tredyffrin, said Robert Kagel, county deputy director of emergency management.

In New Jersey, there were 9,000 people without power Tuesday in Burlington County, down from 21,000 Monday. At least 3,100 of those outages were in the Browns Mills/Pemberton area.

About 300 people, mostly Lumberton residents, had been evacuated from their homes during the hurricane. As of Tuesday afternoon, about 21 remained at a shelter in Florence Township, said Kevin Tuno, emergency-management coordinator for Burlington County.

Downtown Mount Holly still had major flooding Tuesday. Lumberton also remained under some water, but the Main Street bridge was passable.

In Gloucester County, 1,800 people were without power Tuesday, and three major roads were closed: the Route 322 bridge over Mill Pond in Mullica Hill, Route 47 at Marshall Mill Road in Franklin, and Crown Point Road in West Deptford, said county spokeswoman Debra Sellitto.

In Camden County, the biggest problem remained power outages, with hundreds of homes and businesses still without electricity. All major roadways were open Tuesday, but some side roads remained flooded, according to Deputy County Administrator Dominic Vesper.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writers Kathleen Brady Shea, Joelle Farrell, Larry King, Robert Moran, Mike Newall, Paul Nussbaum, James Osborne, Jeremy Roebuck, and Mari A. Schaefer contributed to this article.

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