Connecticut Light & Power will use a helicopter flying more than 80 ft above ground, to pull transmission lines through new transmission structures in Middlebury. The low-flying helicopter will carry new lines over a busy interstate highway corridor (I-84) to minimize traffic impacts during the weekday commute.
“This technology allows us to do critical work to strengthen the electric grid without disrupting travelers on I-84 or service to homes and businesses in the area,” said Laurie Foley, Vice President of Transmission Projects, Engineering & Maintenance for Northeast Utilities, parent company of CL&P. “Using the helicopter reduces the amount of time needed to complete the wire-stringing process from days to hours, compared to conventional methods.”
Once the lines are pulled into the new structures, they will be joined together using imploding connector technology, which provides quicker, stronger, and more electrically efficient connections over conventional connector methods. This work will not interrupt electric service to CL&P customers.
The imploding connector detonations create a sound that is similar to the final aerial burst of a commercial fireworks display. The process is safe and has been approved by federal, state and local officials.
This work is part of CL&P’s 1990 Line Project, an important transmission upgrade that began last year to replace a row of older steel transmission towers with new, sleeker-looking, monopole structures on the existing 21-mi right-of-way from the Stevenson Dam in Monroe through the towns of Oxford, Middlebury, Waterbury and Watertown. This project is expected to be completed later this year.
CL&P submitted a Petition on March 1, 2013, to the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) for this project to replace deteriorating structures and thereby improve the reliability of the transmission system. The new structures will also support larger conductors so CL&P can serve the area's increasing electric needs. The CSC approved the project on June 13, 2013.
Details on the project can be seen at www.transmission-nu.com, click on Project Information for Customers and click on Technical Innovations.