Eversource Energy and National Grid filed a permit application last week for their Merrimack Valley Reliability Project with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC).
Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) is now part of Eversource.
The 24-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line is to be constructed in the energy utility’s existing right-of-way from Londonderry to Tewksbury, Mass., with a total of 8.1 miles to run through Londonderry.
Eversource held a public information session at Matthew Thornton Elementary School on May 6 as part of the application process with the SEC, and the company now must hold a joint public information session with National Grid in each county affected by the project within the next 45 days.
The public meeting in Londonderry has not been scheduled yet, but Eversource and National Grid will be setting that date soon, according to Eversource spokesman Lauren Collins.
“We are required to issue a public notice 10 to 14 days before the meeting is held, so people will have a head’s-up,” she said.
The new transmission line has been proposed to answer what the companies describe as an urgent need to strengthen the region’s electric system in response to forecasted load growth and aging infrastructure, according to a press release Eversource issued July 22.
The SEC would have to issue the project a Certificate of Site and Facility before construction may begin. The Committee has up to 14 months to review the application, and must host an additional public hearing within 90 days of its decision.
Collins said Eversource will begin geotechnical boring in Londonderry as early as mid-August, for which the Planning Board approved a Conditional Use Permit in June. The work is necessary to finalize design details the SEC will consider in approving the project application.
Impacts in the wetlands as a result of the drilling will be temporary, and any clearing will be done by hand, according to Sherrie Trefry, director of energy services for VHB Engineering Consultants in Bedford.
Minimal tree and shrub clearing will be required to gain access to drill sites. Some clearing will be necessary in forested areas where borings are proposed.
“We will do our best to access with a minimal amount of clearing – just enough to get a probe or drill in right where we have structures,” Trefry said.
Crews will lay down matting in the wetlands that disperse the weight of vehicles accessing the sites, in an effort to prevent rutting and other impacts.
Eversource is working to notify abutters of the boring that is to be conducted to ensure they understand crews aren’t installing new towers.
Abutters to the utility right-of-way will have an opportunity to speak to the transmission line project during the upcoming SEC public meeting, and when the project goes before the Planning Board.
The project is to include the construction of about 75 new structures in Londonderry, with the average height anticipated to be 88 feet above ground.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the project may contact Eversource at 844-646-8427 or by email at info@MA-NHSolutions.org.
Residents will also find more information about the project, including maps detailing the transmission line route, online at HYPERLINK “http://www.MA-NHSolution.com” www.MA-NHSolution.com.