Information re: Undergrounding Power Downtown

By Will O’Donnell, Communications Manager for the PUD:

“Jefferson County PUD is proud to be part of the infrastructure improvements to Water Street in downtown Port Townsend. We’re excited for locals and visitors alike to see the city’s improved streets, sidewalks and new plazas. Our work will be a little less visible. During the past several months of construction we’ve mostly been busy underground, laying conduit and building new vaults for transformers. A lot of it in preparation for the much more visible work we’ll be doing during the fall and winter months: putting the overhead wires underground, connecting businesses to the new service, and taking the power poles down.

The work will be done in several phases. The first phase will begin in at the end of July and will involve pulling wire through conduit and replacing overhead transformers with ground level cabinets between the ferry terminal and the Sanderling Building. The next phase will extend up to just past Polk, with subsequent phases moving towards and then up Tyler Street in the spring of 2019. Though work will be ongoing for many months, interruptions to local businesses, residents, and visitors to downtown will be minimal. PUD or contractor vehicles will occupy limited numbers of parking spaces for short times. Work will generally be confined to earlier morning hours. Outages to disconnect overhead service and connect to the new underground service will be performed on a customer by customer basis. Each outage is anticipated to last between two and six hours. The PUD will give plenty of notice and will, when possible, work with specific businesses, building owners, or residence to determine the most acceptable hours for service interruptions.

While we expect all powerlines and transformers to be taken down by late spring 2019, the final step in our project, removing the power poles, has not yet been scheduled. The PUD is still negotiating a timeline for asset removal with other entities who use our power poles, like Wave and CenturyLink. The PUD is also in negotiations with the City of Port Townsend to finalize a timeline for the installation of new streetlights. Until new streetlights are purchased and installed, the PUD cannot take down its power poles, upon which all existing streetlights in the project area are currently mounted. We hope to have poles removed sometime in 2019. The removal of the poles is not expected to take longer than a month and every effort will be taken to minimize impact on the downtown community.

Jefferson County PUD will continue to update residents and business owners on our plans and work schedule as the project progresses.”