Helicopter aids powerline construction | RecordCourier.com

Helicopter aids powerline construction

A twin-bladed helicopter flies in over 1862 David Walley's Hot Springs on Wednesday morning.

A twin-bladed helicopter is flying power poles up Kingsbury Grade as part of a project to increase the reliability of the power line serving Stateline.

Titan Electric is the contractor on the NV Energy job, and is set up across from 1862 David Walley's Hot Springs.

The 60-kilovolt line stretches from Foothill Road to Tramway Drive and was placed into service in 1956, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The company wants to rebuild the line to meet current federal and state electricity regulations and safety standards.

Of the 2.67 miles of power line, 1.65 miles is on private land and the rest is on lands managed by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the National Forest System.

The power company is planning to replace or top the 52 wooden 45-foot tall poles with a combination of 23 new steel single poles and seven new H-frame and three-pole steel structures that will be 65-80 feet tall. The work will include construction of a fifth of a mile of road in the middle third of the line and road improvements between Foothill and the bottom third of the line that intersects with Kingsbury Grade.

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The new power line would be constructed to handle 120 kilovolts, though the power company plans to operate it at its current load.

It is the only high voltage transmission line serving the Kingsbury substation, according to the environmental assessment.

While some of the poles have been replaced over the past 60 years, many of them, and their insulators and wires date from the mid-1950s. The area has suffered several outages due to vegetation and weather-related events. One pole caught fire due to electrical tracking through an old insulator. The section is considered an unacceptable fire risk.

Old Kingsbury Grade would serve as the main access to the project corridor. Some spur roads would require improvements.

A new road would have to be built to reach poles 18-20. A timber sale would be used to remove the trees.

A Charter cable runs along the power lines, which would remain after the single poles are topped.

NV Energy hopes to be done by the end of the year.

For more information, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/634lineRebuild.