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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Courthouse construction fixes electrical problem

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Photo by Richard Irby NAEC crews had to make a mess but a new underground power line, housed in conduit, was installed at the Fulton County Courthouse the week of Aug. 22. A two day power outage at the courthouse was traced to the old main line, which was put in more than 30-years ago.
An electrical problem, which left the Fulton County Courthouse in the dark in mid-August, turned the south side of the square into a construction zone the week of Aug. 22.

The problem began on Monday, Aug. 15, when county employees arrived to work to find the courthouse was without power.

Workers were sent home and crews from the North Arkansas Electric Co-op came to investigate.

"The courthouse is served by an underground line installed in the early 1970s," said NAEC Construction Supervisor Kim Hall. "It appeared that lightning or something caused a disruption of service."

NAEC workers restored power by late afternoon, allowing several county employees to come in and get payroll out.

The power went out again, however, causing the courthouse to be closed the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 16. But, by afternoon, county government was back in business.

"We ran a temporary overhead wire to the courthouse," said Hall.

At first, a permanent repair looked fairly routine. Crews would remove the old underground wire and run a new one through the conduit already in place.

However, it turned out the conduit had apparently collapsed and workers could not get anything through the pipe.

"We decided to run new conduit and cable and fix it right," said Hall.

That meant blocking South Courthouse Square and cutting a trench across the street from the jail parking lot to the courthouse lawn, which had already been dug up.

By Friday afternoon, Aug. 26, NAEC crews had finished the job and were busy cleaning up the mess.

The disruption caused some parking and traffic flow problems around the square during the week, but the road was back open Aug. 26.

With the new underground power line in place, Hall said the courthouse should have 30 or 40 years or more of reliable electrical service ahead,

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