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Northern Pass tower heights detailed

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 04. 2017 8:50PM

CONCORD — Northern Pass would double the size of existing electricity towers in some wooded conservation areas, and communities should find out later this year when construction would start should the project get approved.

“For sure by the end of this summer, we should be able to reach out to all the communities to let them know approximately when we expect to have the construction in their communities,” Samuel Johnson, the lead project manager for Northern Pass, testified before a state committee Thursday.

More than 30 communities are along the proposed 192-mile route.

The state Site Evaluation Committee also heard about how the project would traverse through dozens of conservation areas.

Existing towers with power lines in the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Whitefield stand around 52 feet — “clearly shorter than the proposed Northern Pass towers of 65 to 125 feet,” said Jason Reimers, attorney for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Northern Pass would pass through 44 conservation areas, Reimers said afterward.

The proposed $1.6 billion project to bring hydropower from Canada into New England needs several state and federal approvals before it can start operating along the route in late 2019 or early 2020. Project officials hope to garner all necessary approvals by the end of this year.

Plymouth job worries

Meanwhile, Plymouth was a focus again as an attorney highlighted emails from businesspeople worried about construction hurting their businesses.

“The effect of closing (even narrowing or detouring) the Main Street Corridor and eliminating parking is an invitation to disaster,” said an email from James Lurie and David Lurie with the Plymouth Furniture Co. on Main Street.

Executives from a firm that studied the economic impact of construction on Plymouth said in filings that construction could lead to 50-plus jobs lost, depending on a total loss of parking spaces and other factors.

Kenneth Bowes, Eversource’s vice president of engineering, said project officials will work to “dramatically reduce the time in that downtown area,” perhaps doing night work.

Business owners can file claims for reimbursement for lost business due to Northern Pass, he said.

Businesses should start collecting sales data “pre-project, so that it makes it that much easier to process a claim in the future,” Bowes said.

Construction workers will be encouraged to shop and eat in local businesses, he said.

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