Power project approved


WILMINGTON -- A construction permit was granted to New England Power Company so that a switching station could be upgraded, but town officials are worried about how the project could affect a small bridge.

"They had to put on a series of public presentations, which they did last year," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy. "It’s a revamping of their power station with no expansion just beyond the footprint. It’s just an upgrade of the equipment to make it more consistent with what they’re doing in the region."

On April 9, the Public Service Board approved the project that will occur in parts of Wilmington and Searsburg. In a certificate of public good, the board stated that the project was consistent with the Wilmington Town Plan.

But town officials were concerned about transportation of heavy equipment across the Medburyville Bridge. A crane, which may be too heavy for the bridge, is expected to travel across the Deerfield River.

"We’re waiting to hear back from people doing the project," said Murphy, who believed work likely would begin in the fall and it would be a lengthy project.

The board stated that the project complies with the state’s electric plan and it will contribute to the "robustness and reliability of Vermont’s existing transmission infrastructure as called for in the plan."

The upgrades to the switching station will include constructing a new 14-foot-wide, 30-foot-long and 10-foot-high control house, repairing an existing fence, replacing a vehicle swing gate, paving an existing vehicle access way and installing several structures.

According to the certificate of public good, the work will include sectionalizing one of its transmission lines, which refers to the installation of switches. The transmission line is between a Searsburg switching station and TransCanada’s nearby generating station. The line will also be refurbished.

Public investments referred to in the certificate include the Harriman Reservoir, Wilmington and Mount Snow substations as well as the Searsburg Hydro Generating plant and its associated buildings. The board found that water resources in the area would not be adversely affected by the project.

According to the certificate of public good, the Wilmington Police Department had reviewed details of the project and concluded that it would not have an adverse impact on public health and safety.


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