KELOWNA – FortisBC says work it’s doing in relation to a Kelowna highway construction project will result in improved safety, better reliability of electrical service and a visual improvement to the urban landscape.
The transportation ministry is widening a four kilometre stretch of Highway 97, meaning adjacent utility lines will have to be moved.
In the largest such conversion FortisBC has done, it’s moving a 13,000 volt distribution line from overhead power poles to underground services.
“Underground lines are safer and more reliable than overhead lines, says company spokesperson Nicole Bogdanovic. “They’re less susceptible to motor vehicle accidents and wind and snow and other weather related hazards. And longer term, it’s less expensive to maintain.”
Bogdanovic says there’s a visual improvement as well.
“This will really clean up the look of the corridor coming into town from the airport.”
The $5.5 million project involves the removal of about 50 wood power poles and the installation of some 13 kilometres of electrical lines.
The company will try to keep power disruptions to businesses along the highway to about two hours.
“We make sure the underground line is completely built and energized, hook everybody up, then we de-energize the overhead line and remove it,” says Bogdanovic.
The work should be completed about a year from now.