Helicopter Hangs Wires High Over Lackawanna County

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SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP -- The installation of the high-voltage power lines in Lackawanna County messed up traffic Tuesday.

And drivers can expect more of the same later this week. Crews will continue installing a new power line that cuts right through Lackawanna County.

The hum of helicopter blades could be heard high over the Morgan Highway in South Abington Township. The chopper pilot hung high voltage wires like you would string Christmas lights, while his co-workers stood by hundreds of feet up in a bucket truck.

"It's a little nerve-racking because he did a U-turn about 25 feet above the house at one point. It was a little close," said Martin Biel who lives along the Morgan Highway.

Biel sat and watched the spectacle with his son because there was nowhere else to go. While the helicopter was in the air, both directions of the Morgan Highway were shut down to traffic.

"We actually took advantage of some Christmas decorating inside because we knew the road was going to be closed," Biel added.

Crews from PAR Electric will be doing the work in Lackawanna County for the rest of the week, the next big step in building PPL's new Susquehanna-Roseland Line.

The part crews are working on is only a few thousand feet of a power line that's more than 100 miles long. It runs from the Berwick area to Roseland, New Jersey. Crews are still a long way from being done, the power is not expected to be turned on until 2015.

While the helicopter work continues, traffic tie-ups are expected on Route 11 and Interstate 81 later on in the week too.

Judy Mullisky had to wait about 15 minutes on the Morgan Highway for the helicopter to pass by Tuesday morning. But, she says at least there was something to look at.

"It's very exciting to watch it and it's so unusual for this area. We ran into something newsworthy today!" Mullisky said.

Crews will continue installing the wires on Thursday and the helicopter will be flying over Route 11 in South Abington Township and over Interstate 81 in Dickson City.

PennDOT officials are expecting a 10 mile backup at times on Thursday.