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State approves second phase of Smart Path project

File photo of construction work on the Smart Path high-voltage power project
File photo of construction work on the Smart Path high-voltage power project
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 1:33 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - The New York State Public Service Commission has approved the second construction phase of the 86-mile, $484 million Smart Path project in St. Lawrence County.

The project, owned by the New York Power Authority, got the green light in November of 2019.

It’s being built in two phases. The first construction phase is underway and includes replacing 78 miles of the existing wooden structures and replacing them with steel monopoles.

Additionally, the distance between poles is extended, minimizing the use of space on the right-of-way and greatly reducing the number of poles on the landscape.

The state says the rebuilt lines will be taller and stronger, less susceptible to failure and able to better withstand inclement weather, such as ice storms.

According to the state, the reduced size of the project means less of an impact on agriculture and wetlands.

The just-approved second construction phase will involve rebuilding 6 miles of existing steel structures coming out of the Robert-Moses Switchyard in the town of Massena and rebuilding 0.4 miles of steel structures into the Adirondack substation with steel monopoles.

In its entirety, the Smart Path Reliability Project traverses through 12 towns from north to south: Massena, Louisville, Norfolk, Madrid, Potsdam, Canton, Russell, Hermon, Edwards and Pitcarin in St. Lawrence County, and Diana and Croghan in Lewis County.

During construction, electrical customers will not have their service disrupted. Both phases of the rebuilt transmission lines are expected to be completed in 2023.

The state says the project is necessary to rebuild facilities that are well past their serviceable lifetime to make them more resilient and reduce maintenance costs. The rebuilt transmission lines are needed to deliver electricity, including carbon-free hydroelectric power, from northern New York to the rest of the state; to re-energize the bulk electric system as a component of the New York Independent System Operator’s System Restoration Plan in the event of a future widespread outage; and to provide increased capacity for future expansion to meet New York’s clean energy targets.

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