Utility upgrade is in the works along rail line

Eversource has undertaken a 1.9-mile transmission project that will involve upgrading electric wires and the towers to which they are attached. The work extends along the utility’s rightof- way from a switching station on Danbury Road to a substation off Old Danbury Road. Part of the work is easily seen at the train station off Station Road and along the rail line.
Eversource spokesman Frank Poirot said the upgrade will improve system reliability. A majority of the steel lattice towers that are about 77 feet high will be replaced with steel monopoles that will be about 91 feet tall. The voltage the wires carry will remain the same — 115 kV or 115,000 volts — but all seven wires running along the poles will be replaced by new ones.
“We’re replacing structures that have been operating quite a few years,” Poirot told The Bulletin. “They’ve reached a point where they are near the end of their reliable life.” They have been identified, he aded, as an area that needs improvement. The transmission line feeds substations throughout southwestern Connecticut.
The steel towers currently in place are of a design from the mid- to late 1900s, he said, and newer, more reliable designs have come along since then.
When asked if the new structures are more reliable in extreme weather conditions he said yes. “The spate of extreme weather over the past five or six years has led to more stringent reliabilitystandards,” he said. The new poles “can take more wind, more ice accumulation and we feel they are more reliable than what is out there now.”
Workers will not be in Wilton for very long, he said. Work should be complete by the end of the year.
Right now there are large pieces of construction equipment sitting on mats that protect the ground underneath from being dug up or rutted by tires or tracks, or from being compacted by the equipment.
Eversource is also planning work on the transmission rightof- way that will take place in Wilton, Redding and Bethel, pending state approval. This is still in the planning phase and construction is not expected to start for at least a year.