Bury India Point Power Lines
(2.6) Overhead power lines, and the enormous towers supporting them, have long been a blight on the beauty of India Point Park and the view of the bay. Efforts have been in the works for 14 years to get the lines buried, and the Providence Preservation Society hopes to rally the troops for an upcoming Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) hearing at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) office to show support for this initiative.
The EFSB is considering National Grid’s proposal to leave the wires entirely overhead, which, if approved, means these wires will dominate the waterfront for another century. Attaching the wires to the I-195 bridges across the Providence and Seekonk Rivers would save millions in burial costs, as a recent ProJo op ed indicates. We stand with Friends of India Point Park (FIPP) and dozens of others in urging RIDOT to study the bridge route, and hope the Board will order a study.
That op-ed has a less expensive proposal for how the power lines could cross the river.
The second proposal is a simple alternative that could totally eliminate costly, geologically risky drilling under the rivers, while accomplishing the same effect. How? By running the lines in conventional conduits secured to the existing bridges. We understand that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation considers this approach “doable.” It would use far less costly, routine excavation and burial on land, and conduit hanging on the bridges. Costs should be much lower, and deserve study.
(I know, this seems like small beer in light of our growing national catastrophe, but we have to keep our eye on the local battles as well.)
EFSB hearing, noon, Monday, February 6, PUC, 89 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, (directions)