COLUMBIANA - A helicopter is flying low along power lines in the city, and Police Chief Tim Gladis is urging drivers to use caution while traveling on state Route 14.
The helicopter is part of a roughly $900 million FirstEnergy initiative to improve service reliability, with the local portion of work being the Glenwillow-Bruce Mansfield project that will install a new transmission line connecting the existing Bruce Mansfield power plant in Beaver County, Pa., to a new substation in the Cleveland suburb of Glenwillow.
According to information available on the FirstEnergy website, the project began in 2012 and the 114.5 miles of new transmission line is being installed on existing structures in Columbiana, Mahoning, Trumbull and Beaver, Pa., counties, with roughly 70 percent of the project in Pennsylvania.
As they were in other counties, public meetings announcing the project were held in Columbiana County later that year.
On Monday, traffic on state Route 14 in the city of Columbiana was reduced to one lane as the helicopter flew over while Ohio Edison crews worked to replace the lines.
Gladis announced on the police department's Facebook page the project would have an effect on traffic and that motorists should be aware of delays.
"The helicopter will be flying low and will be crossing state Route 14. Each time it crosses, flaggers will stop all traffic until the helicopter is safely across the roadway. This project can create significant traffic delays, so be aware of that. The work is necessary and will update and enhance the area electrical grid, so please have patience with the Ohio Edison crews as they work to stay safe while improving transmission capabilities," he wrote.
He also said on the page the helicopter will be flying over today, with ground work expected to continue through July 13.
The chief patrolled the area on Monday and said the project didn't cause any significant disruptions to traffic.
"It backed up a little but the wait was short. The flaggers kept things moving pretty well," he said.
Crews are working during daylight hours only and more information about the overall project is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/content/fecorp/about/transmission_project.