BPA to start line rebuild in central Oregon

Crews from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) will begin rebuilding a 32-mile section of the 115-kV Albany-Eugene No. 1 transmission line that runs between Albany and Eugene, Ore., on Monday, June 11.

Other than necessary maintenance, no major work has been performed on the line since it was placed in service in the 1940s.

“Many of the wooden poles on this line are more than 70 years old, which is a lot older than the 55 to 60 years we expected them to last,” a BPA spokesperson told TransmissionHub on June 7.

Early work will include removing trees and building temporary access roads, the spokesperson said.

Construction activities will be spread across two summer construction seasons. Crews will remove and replace existing deteriorating wood pole structures and components with new poles and components of essentially the same design. The replacement structures will have one or two wood poles with an aboveground height of 70 feet. In addition, the steel lattice structures used at the Willamette River crossing will be replaced with wood-pole structures.

During the fall and winter seasons, crews will focus on other activities, including removal of 6,300 so-called “danger trees,” the spokesperson said.

“Danger trees” are trees that “currently or potentially pose a hazard to the line,” according to BPA and need to be trimmed or removed completely for safety reasons as well as for compliance with NERC reliability standards. In addition, the project will clear vegetation on slightly less than 56 acres of land.

Following completion of the rebuild, BPA will re-vegetate areas disturbed by construction activities. The cost of rebuilding the line, which will continue to operate at 115 kV, is estimated at $15.9m.