Let’s put utility lines underground in West Hartford

At a time when the price of everything is rising fast, it probably seems nuts to say we should make utility costs even higher by burying all those wires everywhere in town. But we should.

I’m told that burying utilities in Connecticut would cost more than $1 million per mile so I’m aware that doing this will add up to gigantic numbers that we’ll have to pay if the community chose to take up the idea. The upside, though, is a town that looks better.

As Scenic America tells on its website, other communities across the country are doing it, from San Antonio to Saratoga Springs. Why? Because the tangle of wires and poles all over the place is ugly. Aesthetics has a value. But there are also practical safety and reliability issues that burying utility lines would support.

I’m merely guessing, but with more than 200 miles of roads in the town, most of them lined with poles and wires, it would probably cost at least $250 million to bury every line in town. That’s a huge number, by any standard.

But it doesn’t need to be done all a once. If the town made it a goal, we could do a few miles a year – more if things lined up right some years – and eventually the job would be done. It would be a gift to our children and grandchildren to give them a prettier, safer town. It would also boost property values as the wires came down in neighborhood after neighborhood.

I’m just tossing this out there, but I do believe in it. Why should dangerous wires be dangling overhead wherever you go in West Hartford? Let’s begin to put them underground where they belong. Since new subdivisions never have wires overhead, it’d be like giving our aging town a makeover. We can be young again!

Seriously, it’s worth exploring. Let’s not put our heads in the ground. Let’s put the wires there instead.

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4 Comments

Filed under Energy, power ines, Town government, utilities, utily lines

4 responses to “Let’s put utility lines underground in West Hartford

  1. Can we wait ten years on this? It’s my fervent hope that sometime in the next decade, there will be some serious conversion to a clean power grid, and that may well involve changing the power lines. I’m not saying it will, or that it will happen at all, but I’m saying that I’d feel better if we started budgeting now for burying the power lines in ten or twenty years, with the understanding that the lines we will bury may not be the lines we have now.

    Thanks,
    -V.

  2. Peter G

    My two cents…I think it makes sense to invest in this process over time for several reasons, including aesthetics and safety. But the rider that *I’d* want to put on the proposal is that we also begin to consider “dark sky” lighting in all public places in town (street lights, parks, public buildings, etc.) to reduce light pollution. As I understand it, this is lighting that is directed at the thing being lit instead of simply spreading out everywhere, obliterating the night sky and disrupting the natural environment. OK, so it’s only good for a wish list . . .

  3. Hey Vardibidian,
    I read your comments at — http://www.kith.org/vardibidian/journal/show-entry.php?Entry_ID=10463& —
    and realized that I must have been less than clear. I am NOT proposing that we bury the lines during the next 10 years. To do a few miles a year, it will take something akin to 75 years to do them all in West Hartford. It’s a VERY long-term project.
    I think we don’t really disagree much on this, since I agree with you that trying to spend this much in a decade would be nuts.
    By the way, thanks for the nice words about this blog.

  4. No, I don’t think we’re in disagreement, as (a) we both think that it would be worth spending money to get rid of the aboveground lines, and (2) we are willing to consider this a long-term project. The point of my note wasn’t to disagree or mock your note, but to riff off the idea that we should consider putting aside even quite good ideas while we invest in a War Book to prepare for climate change.

    And you are welcome to the nice words, as I meant them and mean them. It would be a shame if there weren’t a blog just like this one for every decent-sized town in Connecticut, or the US for that matter.

    Thanks,
    -V.

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