Contact Us NU Transmission Media Information

   Project Information for Customers
Customers Home Leadership Benefits Project Locations & Information Stay Informed Your Safety & Health Environmental Stewardship Questions & Answers  
NU Transmission >> Project Information for Customers Home >> Projects >> Middletown-Norwalk >> Frequently Asked Questions

New England East-West Solution (NEEWS)

1990 Line Project

Manchester to Meekville Junction

Stamford Reliability Cable

Project logoFrequently Asked Questions

Why is the line needed?
What has been approved for construction?
What route will the new transmission line follow?
What is the schedule for constructing this transmission line?
How much will the project cost?
Who pays for the new transmission line?
How did the Siting Council determine whether the transmission line should be buried or above ground?
Why does Fairfield County get the underground route?
Isn't this project part of a plan to sell power to Long Island?
What technology will be used?
What is the size of the new overhead steel monopoles?
Can design changes with regard to structure height, finish, and/or location still be made?
What happens to the existing overhead structures that will be removed from the right of way?
Do split phase structures exist anywhere else in the U.S.?
What are the hours of construction?
Are underground facilities, such as septic systems, sprinkler systems and invisible dog fences, in danger of being damaged by construction being done on the right of way?
Will you need to expand any rights of way?
Are any new easements needed?
Will vegetation along the overhead right of way need to be cleared?
What will become of the tree stumps on landscaped property that remain once the trees are removed?
Will manicured lawns and property be restored at the completion of construction?
What if I want to plant my own trees or shrubs to help screen the overhead transmission structures?
Will gates and/or protective barriers be placed at the entrances to the new access roads?
What responsibility does Connecticut Light & Power have regarding liability?
For the underground work, how are you traversing the rivers?
What if I have questions or need more information?

  1. Why is the line needed?

    The Middletown-Norwalk project will improve Connecticut's transmission system and meet the state's energy needs for many years while providing access to competitively priced power.

    Click here to learn about the growing energy needs for Connecticut.

    Back to Top

  2. What has been approved for construction?

    On April 7, 2005, CL&P and UI received approval from the Connecticut Siting Council to extend the 345-kV transmission system into southwest Connecticut. The state-approved 69-mile route consists of 45 miles of overhead lines between Middletown and Milford and 24 miles of underground lines between Milford and Norwalk. The permit also includes 57 miles of reconstructed 115-kV line, most of this overhead.

    Back to Top

  3. What route will the new transmission line follow?

    The Middletown-Norwalk overhead route will follow existing rights of way from Haddam and Meriden through Wallingford and Woodbridge and ending in Milford. The underground route begins in Milford and crosses the Housatonic River and primarily follows Route 1 ending in Norwalk. A map of the route is shown here.

    Back to Top

  4. What is the schedule for constructing this transmission line?

    Construction began in April 2006 and is expected to be completed in 2009.

    Back to Top

  5. How much will the project cost?

    CL&P's portion of the project, 80 percent, is an estimated $950 million. Our partner, The United Illuminating Company, owns the remaining 20 percent. This new estimate is based on a more detailed review of the project and reflects specific designs for equipment, financing charges during construction and the reconstruction of 115-kV lines along the route.

    Back to Top

  6. Who pays for the new transmission line?

    Because the successful installation of 345-kV line in Connecticut will increase the capacity and reliability for the entire New England grid system, costs are expected to be spread across New England. The final cost allocation will be determined by FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and ISO New England.

    Back to Top

  7. How did the Siting Council determine whether the transmission line should be buried or above ground?

    The Connecticut Siting Council's permitting process considers several factors, including reliability, environmental impacts, technical feasibility, the needs of the community and the cost of the selected approach.

    Back to Top

  8. Why does Fairfield County get the underground route?

    The existing overhead right of way between Milford and Norwalk is very narrow. Placing overhead lines along that right of way would require expansion of the corridor, resulting in the acquisition of approximately 100 acres of land and condemnation of 29 homes and businesses. The approved route avoids impacts to the environment and the forced purchase of homes.

    Back to Top

  9. Isn't this project part of a plan to sell power to Long Island?

    No. This is a Connecticut solution for a Connecticut problem. Connecticut is a net importer of electricity with power coming from New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island via the 345-kV transmission system. The 345-kV system needs to be extended into southwest Connecticut to meet the state's present and future demand for electricity.

    Back to Top

  10. What technology will be used?

    Overhead: New 345-kV overhead lines will begin at an existing switching station in Middletown and travel along the existing right of way to the site of a new substation in Milford. This will connect a new switching station in Wallingford into Milford. In general, older wooden H-frames and steel lattice structures are being replaced with steel monopoles ranging in height from 80 to 190 feet. In certain areas, a "split phase" design will be used to reduce magnetic field levels.

    Underground: The underground transmission line will use cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulated cable as opposed to pipe-type high pressure fluid-filled (HPFF) technology, which is the most common type of high-voltage transmission cable used in the U.S. today. XLPE technology was selected to maximize the amount of underground cable that could be installed on this project.

    Back to Top

  11. What is the size of the new overhead steel monopoles?

    The new structures range in height from 80 feet to 190 feet. Structure diameters will vary from 6 feet to 11 feet depending on the size and type of structure and quality of soil conditions. As a rule of thumb, structure diameters increase approximately 6 inches for every 15 feet of structure height. Foundation diameters will typically be at least 2.5 feet larger than the diameter of the structures.

    Back to Top

  12. Can design changes with regard to structure height, finish, and/or location still be made?

    No. Due to the substantial lead time needed to manufacture construction materials, design changes can not be made this far along in the construction process.

    Back to Top

  13. What happens to the existing overhead structures that will be removed from the right of way?

    Except in wetlands, all wooden poles and lattice concrete foundations will be removed to slightly below grade then filled. The old wooden poles and steel lattice structures will be removed to an off-site location and disposed of in an environmentally sound process.

    Back to Top

  14. Do split phase structures exist anywhere else in the U.S.?

    There are a few split phase structures operating in the U.S. today. To our knowledge, none of these are 345-kV. The split phase structure is designed to lower magnetic fields and the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) ordered the use of this design in certain areas.

    There is a short 115-kV split phase demonstration project in the New York State Electric & Gas service territory designed to reduce magnetic fields. The validity of this design was verified during the CSC proceedings (Docket 272, Exhibit 139).

    Back to Top

  15. What are the hours of construction?

    The Connecticut Siting Council is responsible for determining and adjusting work hours permitted on this project.

    • Typical work hours for overhead construction occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. There are work hour restrictions in some densely residential areas, such as Orange.
    • Since the majority of underground work takes place on state roads, work hours on these roads are restricted to nighttime hours, between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM. On non-state roads, work takes place during daytime hours, typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

    If the contractor has an unforeseen circumstance affecting worker safety or equipment failure causing a change in these hours, we are required to immediately inform the Connecticut Siting Council of this occurrence. Municipal officials are notified, as well as any adjacent property owners.

    Back to Top

  16. Are underground facilities, such as septic systems, sprinkler systems and invisible dog fences, in danger of being damaged by construction being done on the right of way?

    We are aware that a number of residents have underground facilities within the rights of way. The facilities that are on file with CL&P are included on our design drawings and construction plans. If these facilities have not been identified, CL&P asks that property owners mark the location(s) on their property so our crews can work to avoid them. Please contact the Project Hotline at 1-866-MID-NORW (643-6679) and leave the details of these facilities in your message.

    Back to Top

  17. Will you need to expand any rights of way?

    Yes. The right of way in Middletown between Scovill Rock Switching Station and Chestnut Junction will be expanded by 60 feet. In addition, the Royal Oak Bypass, ordered by the Connecticut Siting Council, will require the establishment of a new right of way in Middletown and Middlefield.

    Two key philosophies guided CL&P in routing the 345-kV power lines: The routes should cause the least amount of disturbance to people and the environment, which includes minimizing impact to the number of homes in the corridor. Generally, the location where there is a structure today will have a structure tomorrow. Property owners should be fairly compensated for any land that must be acquired. On sections of the right of way where the width needs to be expanded, CL&P will pursue a plan that minimizes intrusion on abutting property owners and environmentally sensitive areas. In acquiring property rights from private owners, CL&P pays the Fair Market Value of the necessary rights. Fair Market Value is typically determined by retaining local independent real estate appraisers to estimate the value of the applicable property rights. CL&P will make a good faith offer representing the Fair Market Value of the property rights sought. The focus and energy of CL&P's negotiations will be to reach a mutually acceptable real estate transaction with the property owner.

    Back to Top

  18. Are any new easements needed?

    Yes. For the underground portions of the project, CL&P had been requested by Connecticut department of Transportation to make all possible underground vault locations off public roads. These new vault locations will require easements from 125 property owners along the underground route. In some cases, easements are needed for only the duration of the project; these temporary easements are used for workspaces and access roads.

    Back to Top

  19. Will vegetation along the overhead right of way need to be cleared?

    Yes, many portions of the right of way needed to have trees and brush removed to make room for the new lines to meet safety and reliability standards. CL&P only clears vegetation needed for the safe, reliable operation and maintenance of its transmission lines. Vegetation within the right of way will need to be removed for the safe passage of construction vehicles, equipment, materials and personnel. No herbicides are used during construction.

    Back to Top

  20. What will become of the tree stumps on landscaped property that remain once the trees are removed?

    Our arborist reviews landscaped property to identify tree stumps for removal. These stumps are ground approximately six inches below grade. Once the grinding is complete, the area will be re-graded and seeded. Tree stumps will not be ground down in wetland areas.

    Back to Top

  21. Will manicured lawns and property be restored at the completion of construction?

    Temporary environmental controls, such as silt fences and hay bales, used to stabilize the soil and protect wetlands during the various phases of construction, will be removed at the completion of construction. Unacceptable species of trees removed from the right of way will not be replanted in order to meet electric industry clearance standards. Brush that is removed during construction is expected to naturally re-grow within a short period of time. Gravel work areas will be removed and will also be re-graded and seeded using a standard grass seed mixture. Access roads that are currently positioned along landscaped properties will also be removed and the area will be restored; though some access roads will remain for future maintenance of the right of way.

    Back to Top

  22. What if I want to plant my own trees or shrubs to help screen the overhead transmission structures?

    CL&P does not routinely plant trees or shrubs around transmission structures. Property owners interested in planting their own trees, shrubs or other plantings in the right of way should contact CL&P in advance of planting to discuss a suitable vegetation plan that allows for the safe, reliable operation and maintenance of our transmission lines. As a general rule, shrubs that have a mature height of no more than 10 feet are desirable between the overhead wires and 15 feet outward. Beyond 15 feet and outward towards the edge of the right of way, trees that have a mature height of no more than 30 feet are desirable. Remember to plan before you plant and contact CL&P.

    Back to Top

  23. Will gates and/or protective barriers be placed at the entrances to the new access roads?

    At locations where construction access roads intersect a town or state road, gates are installed across the access road, with property owner consent.

    Back to Top

  24. What responsibility does Connecticut Light & Power have regarding liability?

    CL&P and its contractors are responsible for ensuring that their work areas are appropriately maintained and that work is performed in a safe and responsible manner. If you identify a specific safety issue regarding a condition on your property during construction, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Back to Top

  25. For the underground work, how are you traversing the rivers?

    For two of the rivers and streams, the project crosses (Mill River and Sasco Creek in Fairfield) the cables will be attached to the bridge that crosses the body of water. For the Saugatuck River in Westport, Housatonic River in Milford and Ash Creek on the Bridgeport/Fairfield line, a process called Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) will be used. This will allow the cables to be buried under the riverbed without having to trench in the water. For more information on the processes used, click here.

    Back to Top

  26. What if I have questions or need more information?

    If you have any questions or concerns, call the Middletown-Norwalk hotline: 1-866-MID-NORW (643-6679) or send us an e-mail.

    Back to Top

Print page without header or side navigationPrinter Friendly Page

Project Information for Customers Home | Energy Needs | Benefits | Projects
Your Voice Matters | Stay Informed | Environmental Stewardship | Q&As
NU Transmission Home | Media Information | Contact Us | Privacy Statement