OPALCO invests in underground power lines project in Washington's Doe Bay area

(UI) — OPALCO has commenced a project to relocate overhead power lines to an underground system, covering the (temporary) Doe Bay bridge to the Eagle Lake intersection in Washington, the Islands' Sounder reported. Expected to last around three months, the project may involve flaggers guiding traffic to a single lane, with no full road closures anticipated.

Once completed, the upgraded system aims to provide increased capacity, improved reliability, shorter outage times, and an unobstructed view corridor along Doe Bay Road. The new conduit will also accommodate Rock Island fiber-optic cables, introducing additional connection points along the route.

This conversion to underground lines is deemed necessary for enhanced reliability, especially during winter storms. Originally planning to replace the overhead spans, OPALCO opted for the underground solution due to frequent faults in that section during windstorms, as revealed by outage data, according to the Islands' Sounder.

With about 87% of OPALCO's distribution system already underground, the Co-op takes opportunities to fortify remaining overhead lines against storms. In addition to relocating the lines underground, the system will undergo an upgrade from single phase to three-phase, signifying a significant capacity increase. The project initiates on the east side of the bridge, with the line segment across the new bridge set for completion following the bridge installation.

This story was originally published by the Islands’ Sounder.

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