published Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Dayton rebuilds power lines

By Tom Davis/Correspondent

DAYTON, Tenn. — City electric department crews, aided by teams from other utilities, finished rebuilding “miles of transmission lines” on Walden’s Ridge early this week, completing the initial phase of recovery for victims of last week’s tornado.

City Manager Frank Welch said crews “have done a tremendous job. You can’t imagine the destruction out there.”

After the Tennessee Valley Authority restored power to Dayton on April 27, between 2,000 and 2,500 customers were left without power. The storm “tore down miles and miles of line,” Welch said.

“There was nothing left,” he said. “We had to rebuild the distribution system [on Dayton Mountain]. It’s amazing what they did in such a short time.”

Vice Mayor Bobby Doss questioned the systemwide outage at the height of the storm, and Welch said that was a result of damage to TVA’s high-voltage transmission lines. “But if the line from TVA to [Dayton’s] Morgantown substation went down, we would be out for weeks.

“Years ago, we had three feeds from TVA. Now we only have one. We are working with TVA to change that,” he said.

In related business, councilmen approved payment for workers and equipment from Madisonville, Ky., and from Service Electric Co., which assisted with reconstruction of transmission lines.

They called for a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. June 6 to receive comment on a proposed ordinance that would permit construction on city lots that are at least 50 feet wide, provided they have a minimum of 7,500 square feet of space on the lot. The current ordinance prohibits construction on lots smaller than 75 feet wide.

Codes Enforcement Officer Ronnie Raper said the proposed ordinance, suggested by the city’s planning commission, would permit construction on smaller lots after a case-by-case review by the board of zoning appeals.

Earlier in the day, the council met in special session and re-elected Vice Mayor Doss. Doss and Councilman Gary Louallen were re-elected in April’s municipal election.

During the city school board meeting, council members re-elected Chairman Bob Vincent and Doss as vice chairman. They also agreed to hold a special meeting to establish a timeline and procedures to find a director of schools to replace Richard Fisher, who will retire at the end of the school year.

Tom Davis is based in Dayton, Tenn. Contact him at

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