PG&E Undergrounding Powerlines in Plumas County Along Highway 70 in Feather River Canyon
By Paul Moreno
QUINCY — PG&E is undergrounding about 20 miles of overhead power lines along Highway 70 in western Plumas County. The underground powerlines will enhance local safety, reduce wildfire risk and increase reliability.
PG&E’s contractor, MGE Underground, will be both trenching and boring to install all-new underground conduit for powerlines, with PG&E crews to install electric cables. Work is starting the week of May 22 at the Grizzly Creek Bridge about one mile east of the Plumas-Butte county line and is working east to Rich Bar Road near Twain.
The public is advised that before and after Caltrans fully reopens Highway 70 to the public, both Caltrans and PG&E have traffic controls in place for their projects.
Because crews are trenching along the highway or side of the highway, one-way traffic controls will be in effect 24 hours a day/seven days a week through September 2024. During work hours traffic delays of up to 15 minutes can be expected, with traffic delays of up to 45 minutes at night and on weekends.
“Targeted undergrounding in high fire-risk areas will make our system safer and more resilient to better serve customers and respond to the state’s evolving climate challenges,” said Joe Wilson, vice president of PG&E’s North Valley & Sierra Region. “Undergrounding powerlines benefits all of our customers, reducing maintenance and operating costs long-term and preventing wildfires that affect us all.”
PG&E is working closely with the County of Plumas and Caltrans to ensure the work is well coordinated with other projects such as road work.
PG&E will notify customers along project routes by email, letter, text or automated phone calls.
When completed, about 60 miles of PG&E power lines will be undergrounded in western Plumas County.
Undergrounding in local communities can reduce the risk of ignitions along undergrounded circuits by 99 percent; reduce annual spending on temporary repairs and other recurring costs such as vegetation management; and lessen the need for wildfire safety-related outages.
After the undergrounding is complete, PG&E will remove the existing overhead power lines. The communities of Belden, Tobin, and Rock Crest Camp will be served by the new underground power lines.
Start dates on other underground projects will be announced in the coming months, including future segments of underground work along Highway 70.
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