Patriot Ledger: National Grid to hold meeting on Quincy buried transmission cable project
QUINCY — National Grid is proposing to replace aging underground transmission lines that bring electricity to Quincy, a project that would likely start in the spring of 2022 and last until the summer of 2025.
The project will mostly run down Newport Avenue between Heritage Drive and Furnace Brook Parkway and stretch from the Parkway, down Southern Artery to a sub-station at Field Street. It will transmit electricity from a sub-station at Field Street, according to a map on the project’s website. The project’s community lead, Danielle Aretz, said the list of abutters, including renters and property owners, is just over 4,000 people.
Aretz said National Grid wants to get the word out so people are not caught unaware when construction equipment starts rolling in, so they are hosting a virtual “open house” on the project at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Aretz said the company hopes to have all of its permits for the major infrastructure project by January 2022 and begin construction that spring or summer, which would be completed by fall 2023. Then the company would need to remove the old, buried transmission cables and repave all the streets affected. That work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2025.
“The transmission lines have been in service for almost 50 years and they’re nearing the end of their service life so we are investing in the community to replace them with new, modern, underground transmission cables,” she said.
The current transmission cables, installed in the 1970s, are buried under street, which means any time National Grid needs to repair or maintain them, it had to rip up the asphalt and dig to get to them. The new proposed lines would be created with a manhole system so instead of ripping up the street, technicians would drop into a small space from a manhole and make the necessary repairs.
“The new modern system will improve reliability of the transmission service,” Aretz said.
National Grid officials, as part of the engineering phase, are talking with city officials about how to move forward and learn about concerns the city might have and how to work them out. Aretz’s role is to open that same line of dialogue with the people who will be directly affected by the construction. The abutters list includes properties within 500 feet of the proposed route.
“My job is to open a two-way dialogue with the community, and the people who live along the route, to make sure they know who we are, what we’re doing, when, where and why,” she said. “We really want to make sure that we have their concerns and are aware of them up front so we can discuss and try to mitigate it.”
One concern, especially during the pandemic, is making sure grocery and other delivery drivers, medical professionals and others are able to access homes situated along the construction route, which National Grid will provide, she said.
National Grid held a virtual presentation on Aug. 27 that was sparsely attended. Aretz said she hopes the next few virtual meetings garner more attention. Those meetings will have Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Spanish interpreters for residents.
“We mailed out invitations and postcards with all the info on how to join the Zoom webinar,” she said. “There will be a live question and answer timed section.”
Aretz said she knows many people are already “Zoomed out” but a recording of the meeting will be posted to the project’s website.
Reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.