PPL has announced that it plans to rebuild a "key" transmission line in the Saucon Valley area.
The Quarry-Seidersville transmission line runs between a substation in Seidersville, Lower Saucon Township, and the Quarry substation on the Bethlehem-Freemansburg border, PPL said in a news release.
"The project will make this power line much less likely to be knocked out by storm damage such as tree strikes, lightning and high winds," the company said, adding that the decision to rebuild the line is "in a direct response to the widespread, prolonged power outages following Hurricane Sandy and other major storms."
PPL said the Quarry-Seidersville line serves more than 27,800 electric customers, including customers in Bethlehem, Freemansburg, Fountain Hill, Hellertown, Lower Saucon Township, and Salisbury, Springfield, Durham, Upper Saucon and Williams townships.
"This line also serves Lehigh University and St. Luke’s Hospital," the company said.
According to PPL, features of the new transmission line that will make it more resistant to storm damage include:
- Two overhead ground wires to protect the line from lightning strikes.
- Fault detectors to tell operators where damage is located and help speed repairs.
- Remotely controlled motorized switches to isolate a damaged part of the line and restore power more quickly to customers on other parts of the line.
PPL said preparatory work for the rebuilding will "begin immediately."
Pending Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approval, construction is scheduled to begin next March, with completion of the project scheduled for late 2014, PPL said.