The Community Working Group (CWG) met for a second time on January 16, 2020, at the Eaton Area Community Center in Eaton, Colorado. Topics included technical information of underground transmission lines, electromagnetic fields (EMF), and an overview of project construction. The Xcel Energy team provided the results of resource and land use studies and an opportunities and constraints analysis conducted to identify preliminary potential route segments for the transmission lines and for identifying a target area for the new Eaton-area substation. The preliminary potential route segments for the transmission line and substation target area were presented to the CWG members. The CWG members were asked to comment on the preliminary potential route segments for the transmission line. The preliminary potential route segments also were displayed at a public open house to be held January 28, 2020, at the Eaton Area Community Center from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
First Community Working Group Meeting Held
Local citizens representing various community interests are part of a Community Working Group (CWG) formed to work with the project team over the course of the siting and technical studies for this project. The first CWG meeting was held on November 5, 2019, at the Eaton Area Community Center in Eaton, Colorado. Topics covered the purpose of the CWG and roles and responsibilities of the CWG and Xcel Energy in the siting and routing process. The Xcel Energy team gave an overview of the planning process for electric systems, need for the project and the project components. The Xcel Energy team also presented an overview of the study process they will use for siting and routing the new Eaton-area substation and the new transmission lines. The CWG members were asked to provide input on the draft facility siting criteria, part of the siting and routing process, to Xcel Energy.
CLICK HERE TO ATTEND THE ONLINE PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE #5
Asset ConditionRefurbishment Project
Final design and route are subject to change pending public, engineering, and regulatory review.
This A1/B2 Asset Condition Refurbishment project proposed by National Grid, operating as New England Power Company, plans to address the existing 69kV A1 and B2 transmission lines constructed in 1909 as they are approaching the end of their asset life. The scope to rebuild these lines includes structure replacements, structure foundations, new conductor, and right-of-way access improvements where necessary along the approximate 61 miles of existing right-of-way.
This project originates in Vernon, Vermont, travels through Hinsdale and Winchester, New Hampshire then continues through a number of towns within Northern Massachusetts including, Warwick, Royalston, Winchendon, Gardner, Westminster, Fitchburg, Leominster, and Sterling.
Coming off the mainline, this project also includes the Athol Tap and the Crystal Lake Tap. The Athol Tap runs from Royalston Substation to Chestnut Hill Ave Substation in Athol, Massachusetts. The Crystal Lake Tap runs from Gardner Switching Station to Crystal Lake Substation in Gardner, Massachusetts.
As of October 2023:
On October 31, 2023, NEP will file a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office for the Massachusetts portion of the lines. A copy of this report can be found on this project website. A paper copy and/or translated copy can also be requested by emailing, A1B2acr@bscgroup.com. The DEIR will be published in the Environmental Monitor on November 8, 2023. The deadline for public comments is December 8, 2023. To provide comments, you may do so by locating the DEIR on https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/EEA/MEPA-eMonitor/home.
NEP will continue to communicate with the MEPA office regarding questions and will eventually file a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). When the FEIR is filed you will also receive notification of this. In the meantime, we will continue to work with federal, state, and local agencies as necessary to ensure the project is constructed and operated in compliance with state and local standards.
Thank you to all who attended this summer’s open houses and reached out for more information. The project team had a great time meeting everyone and discussing any questions or concerns that were raised.
Beginning in late October 2023, select tree removals and associated forestry work will take place in the right-of-way (ROW) and access roads as needed in Vermont and New Hampshire in preparation for construction. Team members are also reviewing the ROW and access roads to leave stakes where activities will take place. Landowners in Vermont and New Hampshire will be receiving a notification in the mail about this activity.
During this time, you may see an increase of crew members and equipment such as a bucket truck and mower in the ROW and on access roads. This work will be ongoing until the activities are completed. Construction is anticipated to begin in Summer 2024 - starting in Vermont and working down the line into New Hampshire. This schedule is subject to change.
Please keep an eye out for invitations in the mail and join us at any of the following open houses this Summer.
July 17, 2023 at Vernon Town Hall, 567 Governor Hunt Road, Vernon, VT 05354
July 24, 2023 at Winchester Elementary, 85 Parker Street, Winchester, NH 03470
August 22, 2023 at Athol Public Library, 568 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331
August 24, 2023 at Gardner City Hall, 95 Pleasant Street, Gardner, MA 01440
August 28, 2023 at Fitchburg Senior Center, 14 Wallace Ave, Fitchburg, MA 01420
Team members from departments including engineering, construction planning, environmental, forestry and real estate will be present to answer questions and meet residents.
A Spanish interpreter will be present at both the Gardner City Hall and Fitchburg Senior Center open houses, with a Portuguese interpreter also present at the Fitchburg Senior Center. We are committed to providing ample access and opportunity to stay up to date on this project. Please feel free to call us at +1 (844) 500 - 3536 or emailing us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
We look forward to seeing you!
Team members are continuing to work on the permitting and design phase of the Project. Field assessments along the Project route will continue as needed and soil boring activities are expected to continue into Fall 2023. Soil borings require some preparation work so residents may see some tree trimming along the access routes.
We have published a Project Overview video to describe the Project in more detail as well as provide visuals for the construction and restoration process. Take a look on the left side of the website’s main page to view!
The Outreach team is continuing to present the Project at Town’s Board of Selectmen or City Council meetings this month. This Spring/Summer, we will send invitations to attend local open houses which will provide another opportunity to meet the Project team, ask questions and learn what to expect as we continue our preparation for construction.
Construction is planned to begin in 2024, starting in Vermont and New Hampshire, then beginning the Massachusetts portion of the project in 2025 (schedule subject to change).
There continues to be a number of field assessments occurring this summer so be sure to check back here for updates. The engineers continue to evaluate structure placements for their design. To provide information to the team we are currently working with CDM Smith to conduct Seismic Refractions which is an activity to help determine the composition of soil within the area of the existing structures. This team travels in on foot and collects data which typically takes a few hours. They are working their way along the right of way beginning in Massachusetts and working their way to New Hampshire and Vermont.
There is also a cultural survey team evaluating the right of way.
Additionally, we are also beginning to evaluate soil boring locations which are expected to occur later this summer into the fall. Both the seismic and soil borings do require some prep work where you may see some tree trimming along the access routes.
The outreach team is also beginning to plan door-to-door outreach this summer. We look forward to speaking with you all about the project relative to your location to the right of way.
Later this fall, be sure to watch your mailbox for invitations to local open houses which will provide you another opportunity to meet the project team and ask us additional questions about the project and what to expect as we continue our preparation for construction later in 2025. (Schedule may be subject to change).
During this phase, the project team seeks to review historical and current line and right of way information in order to evaluate various options on how to construct this project.
Continual team conversations are had to ensure that we all are working towards the common goal of ensuring that the efforts will meet the project needs; that we review all possible alternatives; that we lessen the environmental impacts for the short and long term; and that we seek efficiencies, when possible, to reduce the overall project costs.
Starting this year, the team will begin to file for federal and state permits necessary for upcoming activities as well as for construction planning. These permitting processes will be available for federal and state board level reviews, but will also available for interested parties to review and provide feedback.
The soil boring effort will continue along the right of way this year. Further notifications will be sent once a schedule of this work is prepared.