CMP plans major line upgrade in Bridgton, Harrison

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Central Maine Power will be building a new eight-mile power line between its substations in Harrison and Bridgton, requiring a widening along most of the existing transmission line corridor. The project will allow power to be transferred from one grid to the other when outages occur during big storms.

“The whole idea is to keep the lights on in the Lake Region,” said CMP Spokesperson Gail Rice.

Letters to affected landowners, which include the Town of Bridgton, went out Dec. 2 to let them know that an agent from the utility will soon be in contact to begin negotiating acquisition of the necessary easements. The line runs from the Kimball Road Substation in Harrison, just off Temple Hill Road, to the Bridgton Substation on Powerhouse Road off Kansas Road. The line will be widened by 50 feet the first three and a half miles out from the Kimball Road Substation, requiring the acquisition of 19,200 square feet of land. Additional clearing will need to be done all along the eight-miles of corridor, however, and CMP will need to widen the corridor a bit as it approaches the Bridgton Substation.

“This is a fairly big upgrade,” Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said at Tuesday’s Selectmen meeting. “Be aware that you may be contacted.”

Along with building a brand new line within the corridor, the project also involves rebuilding the existing line using “more robust,” heavier-weight conductor wires. The wires will be set on single poles around 55 to 60 feet in height, and the robust design will allow the lines to be spaced farther apart than the lines now in place.

Additional clearing will be needed all along the eight-mile corridor, however, to accommodate both lines.  The Town of Bridgton owns a .1-acre parcel at the corner of Plummer’s Landing Road and Moore Street, near the Bridgton Substation.

“We want to make the system stronger and more flexible,” Rice said. “The system has served the area well over the years, and we want to strengthen it before there are problems.” She noted that it takes several years to design and engineer a new transmission system, not to mention the time needed to go through the state permitting process.

The company won local and state approvals this fall from the Bridgton Planning Board for a major upgrade of its substation on Powerhouse Road. The line upgrade will require separate permits, delineating wetlands, vernal pools and threatened or endangered species, from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Permitting is scheduled to begin early next year and will take most of the year to complete. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2015 and be completed by the fall of 2016. Those with questions are asked to call Paul Fecteau, CMP project manager, at 626-9883.

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