The Central to Western Mass Energy Improvement Project is proposed to rebuild the existing National Grid E5/F6 circuits throughout Central and Western Massachusetts as they are approaching the end of their asset life. The Project will include right-of-way (ROW) access improvements where necessary, the replacement of structure foundations, structures, and wire along the approximately 70 miles of existing ROW. Additionally, the Project includes the installation of Optical Ground Wire (OPGW), a type of cable used to transmit data via optical fiber, while providing an additional layer of protection from lightning strikes and other electrical disturbances. These upgrades will allow for additional transmission capacity for future needs, including improving the reliability of the system in the Project area.
As proposed, the project will traverse through the communities of Shelburne, Conway, Deerfield, Sunderland, Leverett, Shutesbury, Pelham, Belchertown, Ware, West Brookfield, North Brookfield, East Brookfield, Spencer, Leicester, Auburn, and Millbury, Massachusetts.
This project is currently in the permitting and design phases and is several years away from construction. Anticipated to begin in 2028, construction is expected to take five years to complete.
To determine the soil conditions for new structures, soil testing and surveys need to be conducted. In the coming weeks, vegetation management crews will begin mowing access and work areas within the ROW, as needed, for crew and equipment access. Initially, soil testing crews will access the ROW either on foot or with smaller equipment for seismic and ground penetrating radar surveys. These surveys will be followed by soil borings. A soil boring is a geotechnical investigation consisting of drilling a small hole in the ground at the site of new structure foundations to determine existing soil conditions. Each boring site takes approximately one to two days to complete. During this time, larger vehicles and equipment will be within the ROW. In certain areas, access road improvements may need to be made. Timber mats may also be placed in specific areas such as wetlands, stream crossings, agricultural areas, or residentials lawns for crew and soil boring equipment to access structures.