CONCORD, Mass. – The Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District in conjunction with work in waters of the United States to replace transmission structures in Leverett and Montague, Mass.
The proposed work includes the discharge of dredged or fill material within U.S. waters including wetlands in order to perform the WMECO 354 Line Reconstruction Project over an impoundment called Beaver Pond off Richardson Road on the town line of Leverett and Montague.
The project proposes to remove eight wooden electric transmission structures and replace them with four steel structures. Replacement structures will all require poured concrete foundations, each approximately 10 feet in diameter. A total of 10 foundations will be required to support the new structures. Seven of the foundations are proposed within regulated wetlands. Each concrete foundation will result in approximately 80 square feet of permanent fill.
WMECO will require installation of timber mats for the construction of temporary access roads and work platforms to support construction of the new transmission structures and removal of the existing structures. The temporary access roads will be 16 feet wide to safely allow construction equipment to reach the work platforms. The access roads will be continuous through the work area.
The project will allow WMECO to eliminate public safety concerns and maintain the electrical power service along the high voltage 354 kV power line that runs through 10 western Massachusetts towns. The integrity of the existing structures has been compromised and no longer meets WMECO’s operational and safety standards.
Proposed impacts are 560 square feet of permanent impacts due to the installation of seven new electric transmission structures; 4.68 acres of temporary impacts due to the placement of timber mats for project access and temporary work platforms to provide safe areas for crews to perform construction activities; and 1.74 acres of secondary impacts due to clearing and conversion of forested wetland and scrub-shrub wetland.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps of Engineers in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including
wetlands. The public notice with more detailed information can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public notices.
Public comments on the Corps permit review (File # NAE-2010-1326) should be forwarded no later than Aug. 17, 2011 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Kevin Kotelly), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Kevin Kotelly at 978-318-8703 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.