By Terry Rogers
Residents and visitors of Milford have noticed large, steel utility poles being installed along Route 113 near Route 14 over the past several months. The poles, which are part of the construction of a new substation and inter-transmission line, are significantly larger and more noticeable than the poles they are replacing.
“These poles are made to hold very heavy wire,” City Manager Richard Carmean explained. “We discussed whether we should go with the metal or wooden poles, but found that the metal poles were much more cost effective. Because they have to be so tall, wooden poles would be a logistical nightmare to get to Milford, as they would need special permits in every state they traveled through. The metal poles come in sections, so they are much more economical to transport.”
The installation of the poles is one of the last requirements for getting the new substation up and running. The $8 million project was designed to relieve the burden of the city’s only substation located on Elks Lodge Road. During peak times, according to the City Manager, the city often reached close to the capacity of that substation. The loss of a transformer during those peak times could have been disastrous for the city.
During the installation of the new inter-transmission line, drivers in the area of Route 113 and 14 have experienced some traffic delays as the new poles are significantly larger than normal utility poles, requiring large equipment to install the poles and connect the wiring necessary to transfer electric throughout the city from the substation.
“These poles will last a long time,” Mr. Carmean said. “Although they stand out right now because they are different, in time they will blend into the background and people will not even notice them. They are safer than wooden poles as they do not break down, so there are no health risks. Each pole is individually grounded, so there is no more risk of electric strikes than there are with wooden poles.”
The new substation will also allow the city to connect to the new solar field, located on Route 14. Connecting to the solar field will provide additional, less expensive electric for the city. Mr. Carmean also believes that the additional electric power will encourage businesses who are starting up, or who plan expansion, to choose Milford as a strong electric service is attractive to businesses in those positions.
“The project is almost completed, and we plan to have the new substation up and running by the end of March,” Mr. Carmean explained.