NY’s biggest transmission line project underway in St. Lawrence County

Updated: Jun. 29, 2020 at 1:30 PM EDT
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Construction sites are springing up all over northern St. Lawrence County. They’re getting ready to raise transmission towers for the Smart Path project.

Signs of it are everywhere. The state’s largest transmission line project is in full swing. Again – after about a one month pandemic delay.

“We’re so pleased that we can restart it now in full force and hit the ground running,” said Gil Quiniones, New York Power Authority CEO.

Everything was ready to go when COVID-19 squashed work in late March. Now, they’re getting ready to raise 140-foot towers to carry high-voltage electricity through St. Lawrence County.

“It’s going to be really spectacular to see,” said Ana Stachowiak, New York Power Authority project manager.

Some local communities had concerns about out-of-state workers during the pandemic. The power authority worked with the state Health Department to come up with a plan to restart construction.

“We want to make sure we’re not only protecting our employees, our contractors, but also the communities. So we follow a very, very strict procedure,” said Quiniones.

Plenty of work is still getting done. The New York Power Authority plans to hit all completion dates for its Smart Path project.

“We’re building roads, work pads, foundations are going in the ground so everything is kind of chugging along as planned,” said Stachowiak.

New towers will be erected from Massena to Croghan. They’ll replace wooden ones built in 1942.

The new lines will be capable of carrying more electricity than the old system. In part, that’s because they’re anticipating the widespread development of renewables, such as solar, in this area.

Plans for massive, commercial solar arrays are already in various stages of planning in the towns of Canton, Potsdam and Norfolk.

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