By Gwendolyn Craig
The Adirondack Park Agency on Thursday unanimously approved permits allowing National Grid to upgrade its infrastructure spanning about 40 miles on the eastern edge of the park.
The project will involve replacing 191 existing wooden poles in the Blue Line, most of which are 1930s-era. The APA is involved because of permits required for working in and near wetlands and for structures taller than 40 feet.
Devan Korn, of the APA, said National Grid’s work will pass through multiple land-use areas from more developed hamlets to protected rural use and resource management areas.
It will rebuild two segments of transmission line from National Grid’s Republic Steel Substation in the Town of Moriah, to the Ticonderoga Substation in the Town of Ticonderoga. The upgrades will continue down into the Town of Dresden and then outside of the Adirondack Park into the Town of Whitehall. The lines are mostly around State Route 22.
The wooden poles will be replaced with steel and will range in height from 43 to 74 feet above grade. All the poles are replacing existing ones except for two. The two new ones are specifically for osprey nesting. The birds have been known to take up residence on the towers.
Art Lussi, APA board member, asked about the pole material and its appearance along the landscape. Korn said the steel National Grid has chosen weathers well and keeps a brown color. It will not have a reflective finish.
Zoe Smith, an APA board member, asked Korn about conditions in the permits that National Grid must meet, like managing for invasive species. She asked whether the APA gets a report from National Grid and how APA knows if National Grid is complying with the permits.
Korn said there’s no report.
“If they’re doing something else on the project site, that is a violation,” Korn said. “As far as compliance goes, certainly you can imagine it would be an undertaking to watch all of these projects get undertaken.”
The permits passed the APA’s regulatory committee and later on the full board.