Changing of the guard for power line poles

One of the old lattice towers that has been replaced. — Photo courtesy of Eversource

One of the old lattice towers that has been replaced. — Photo courtesy of Eversource

Fore more than 50 years, people driving on Route 7 at the junction of Route 33 could look across the road and catch a glimpse of the huge steel lattice towers carrying the power lines.

The network of towers ran seven miles, from Ring’s End lumberyard in Wilton to a substation in Redding.

But within a couple of weeks, they will all have been replaced with modern monopole towers, which are stronger and taller. The lattice towers stood 77 feet and the monopoles are 91 feet.

“We’re finishing up now — the pole construction should be done by June,” said Frank Poirot, spokesman for Eversource, the power company.

The lattice towers were replaced because they were aging. “They are close to the end of their reliable life, so we are upgrading them,” Poirot said.

The high voltage they carry is still the same, 115,000 volts.

The $27.5 million replacement created an unestimated number of construction and concrete jobs, and the company tried to buy sand, gravel and other materials from local suppliers to keep money in the local economy.

There will be jobs after that, too, because Eversource needs to upgrade the right-of-way along the seven miles. That includes removal of crane pads and soil stabilization work with new plants and grass.

Workers have been at it since December.

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