ELLSWORTH, Maine — Electrical power went out for about 45 minutes around noon Monday in the downtown area, causing traffic lights and businesses on and near Main Street to go dark.
Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. reported on its website that 4,200 customers in the Ellsworth area were without electricity during the outage. Internet service and land telephone lines also went out in buildings without backup power during the incident, but cellphone service was available in the affected area.
According to Bob Potts, communications specialist for the electricity distributor, the outage was caused by crews that were cutting trees as part of a Maine Department of Transportation project to reroute Route 180 so it connects directly with Route 1A.
The tree crew had notched a tree and was expecting it to fall away from nearby power lines, but a gust of wind took it the other way shortly before noon, Potts said. The tree landed on the lines, causing the outage, but did not damage the lines or poles that hold them up, he said.
As a result, the outage was relatively easy to fix, Bangor Hydro officials said. Power was restored to downtown Ellsworth around 12:40 p.m., about 45 minutes after it went out.
Ellsworth Police Chief John DeLeo said Monday that only a few traffic signals went dark. The two on Main Street — one downtown by the Route 1 bridge over the Union River and the other near the top of the hill, where Main intersects with Oak and High streets — lost power, he said. So did a signal that directs traffic flow across a one-lane bridge where Route 180 currently crosses the top of a dam at the southern end of Graham Lake.
Police said they received several calls about alarms going off when the power went out but that there were no vehicle accidents caused by the traffic signals not working.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.