This project includes five new power substations and nearly 450 miles of new or rebuilt transmission lines and the construction of a new 345-kV transmission line, which will double the capacity of the state's power grid. The improvements, the first major upgrade since 1971, are needed to increase reliability and stability of the power grid beyond 2012. Approved by the Public Utilities Commission, construction on the $1.4 billion improvement project began in 2010.
The project affects about 4,000 property abutters statewide as it passes through 75 cities and towns. The majority of the construction area is an existing corridor. To widen it, land was purchased from abutters over the course of two years. Purchases from nearly 600 landowners have in many cases involved a 50-foot-wide strip to widen the corridor. Negotiations are ongoing with 5 percent of landowners.
Surveying and tree clearing kicked off construction. Survey crews ensure protective, clear flagging around wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. Encroachment managers are working with landowners to resolve more than 1,700 encroachments along the corridor ranging from houses and sheds to junk piles and swimming pools. Negotiations are also under way to resolve illegal uses along the corridor for roads, timber harvesting or unpermitted agricultural uses.