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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

PG&E project in Santa Maria to last two months, could cause traffic delays

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 4:56 PM

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Company began a two-month-long project on Oct. 19 to upgrade equipment along a four-mile section of the company’s Mesa-Santa Maria transmission system circuit.

The project, which is expected to be completed by Dec. 19, will increase the height of nine transmission towers—the tall structures that support power lines—and may result in minor traffic delays while the project is underway.

click to enlarge POWER UPGRADE PG&E began a two-month project to keep its power lines in compliance with state and federal standards along the Mesa-Santa Maria transmission system circuit. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • POWER UPGRADE PG&E began a two-month project to keep its power lines in compliance with state and federal standards along the Mesa-Santa Maria transmission system circuit.
“PG&E performed an aerial survey of its electric transmission lines and observed that gravity and age had impacted required ground-to-wire clearances on this portion of our Mesa-Santa Maria 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission system circuit,” PG&E Marketing and Communications Representative Mark Mesesan wrote via email. “Safety is PG&E’s most important responsibility, and we immediately began efforts to address this issue.”

PG&E self-reported the issue to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which then sent a formal request for the project’s completion, “as is their process,” Mesesan wrote. These improvements will allow the transmission system to remain in compliance with California Public Utility Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission standards.

Mesesan wrote that the “reliability of our electrical system is another priority, including identifying issues such as this one.”

PG&E doesn't anticipate any electric outages from the project, although he said “it will require some switching to ensure seamless operations.”

“Naturally, if we do encounter an unexpected issue, including an outage, our crews and contractors will work diligently to minimize any inconvenience to our customers,” Mesesan wrote.

A small portion of the project requires helicopter operations, which are expected to be conducted between Oct. 26 and 28 “in an agricultural area just west of Highway 101 in Nipomo,” a PG&E press release stated.



“That section of work area is agricultural property, so helicopter noise should be minimal,” Mesesan wrote. “Helicopters are not expected to be needed or used once the project work moves to the PG&E transmission corridor along Railroad Avenue in Santa Maria starting on or about Wednesday, Oct. 28.”

This portion of the project will begin where Railroad Avenue intersects with the Santa Maria Levee Trail and will move south toward West Cook Street. Residents can expect traffic control measures in place, as well as occasional lane closures and no parking zones.

“Electronic signs also will be used to provide traffic warnings,” Mesesan wrote. “Motorists should plan for the possibility of delays when traveling on Railroad Avenue where project work is being conducted.” Δ

—Malea Martin
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