Visitors will be allowed back on Hatteras Island starting Friday at noon

Visitors will be allowed back on Hatteras Island starting Friday at noon

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - Dare County officials will allow visitors back on Hatteras Island beginning Friday at 12 p.m. Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative said "reliable and adequate" power will be available on the island by the time visitors are allowed back.

Earlier Thursday, CHEC said it will take another 1-2 days to fully restore power to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

The cooperative and contract crews have continued to work on constructing a new overhead line to restore transmission power to the islands, according to an update posted on their website. The overhead line is the fastest and safest solution at this point, they said.

Attempts to repair the damaged transmission lines proved to be too difficult as crews could not keep water out of the trench.

CHEC consulted with Lee Electrical Construction and New River Electrical to determine the best way to restore power.

Crews worked late into the night Wednesday, connecting the grid and the new cables and the work should be complete Thursday morning. The cooperative "will begin to energize the new line" once the work is complete, the post said.

According to CHEC, "the new line will need to stay energize[d] for several hours while the cooperative tests the cables."

Once testing is complete, electrical load will be gradually introduced to the line. Those in the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon and Buxton will have to deal with outages while the cooperative works to take the circuits off of generator power and energize them with the repaired transmission line, CHEC said.

CHEC said they will try to give those in the villages notice that outages will occur.

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The whole incident began when workers were setting aside equipment that wasn't in use, which caused a massive power outage that drove tourists from two islands in the Outer Banks.

About 50,000 visitors to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands were forced to leave.

North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Hass says construction workers stuck the steel casing in the ground in a spot where they intended to leave it temporarily. Hass says the long metal tube is used to drive pilings that support the bridge.

Crews from PCL Construction building a new bridge between islands severed the underground lines last week.

Lawsuits have been filed against the company by businesses who say they were hurt when thousands of tourists evacuated.