BAR HARBOR — Work to set new utility poles as part of running new electrical transmission lines along Route 3 continues, including cutting trees in the right-of-way for a 10-foot clearance around the poles.
The pole-setting and clearing work is shared by Emera Maine and Fairpoint Communications because both firms run wires on the poles.
“Tree trimming will be 10 feet behind the pole from one pole to the other,” James Brooks, an engineer contracting with Emera on the project, said in an email to a citizen advisory group. “Where tree trimming has already been done, the crews will not go beyond that 10-foot trimmed area.”
Tree trimming and pole setting is nearly complete, Brooks said. The next step is running the new transmission lines. Emera crews will frame the poles, put cross pieces up and run the two electric circuits.
“The overall goal for phase I of the transmission project to be completed by April of 2016 is still on target,” he said. “The old utility poles will be removed after all the work on the new poles has been completed.”
In some places where pole placement was near active lines, the new poles have temporary orange or yellow insulating blankets in case of accidental contact with the wires.
“The second part of the line construction (Pirate’s Cove to the new substation on Prospect Avenue) will begin once the Maine DOT Route 3 widening project kicks off,” Brooks said. “This project is currently scheduled to start in the fall of 2016.”
As an “All American Road Corridor,” this section of Route 3 also has its own advisory committee. This group has expressed concern that street lighting not interfere with dark skies in Acadia National Park and around Mount Desert Island.
“We are evaluating street lighting alternatives on the Route 3 corridor in Bar Harbor to improve dark sky conditions as a result of our discussions with the Acadia All American Road Corridor Committee,” Brooks said. “Any alternatives will require Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approval, and we are preparing the necessary MPUC analyses and documents.”
A public meeting about the project originally scheduled for Dec. 3 was postponed due to conflicts, Brooks said.
The team hopes to hold a meeting in January, but a date has not been set yet.