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December 13, 2012

Grid begins $11M upgrade

Electric cables to go underground; little digging needed

National Grid came to Gloucester on Thursday to describe an $11 million electrical infrastructure improvement project across Cape Ann, Beverly, Hamilton and Wenham.

The project involves upgrading and adding as much as 15 miles of underground cable systems that will increase capacity to the utility’s distribution system and redundancies to reduce the chance of power outages.

Work began on the project in September and is about 20 percent complete. Work is projected to be complete by June 2013.

New cable is being introduced in the existing manhole and duct system that runs from Beverly through Manchester and Gloucester.

Crews will be installing new cabling along Route 127 in Manchester and on Magnolia, Essex and Western avenues and Main Street in Gloucester.

The utility also said it would be upgrading existing equipment in its Beverly, Manchester and Gloucester substations that will “enhance the reliability of the system and improve restoration time during outages.

“It all starts in the East Beverly substation,” said National Grid spokeswoman Charlotte McCormack. “Then, the route follows 127 onto Salem Street into Manchester. Once there, it breaks off to Magnolia Avenue to Route 133/Essex Avenue to where it intersects with Main Street in Gloucester and runs to the substation next to Gorton’s.

The new line will become the primary delivery line and will be located at a greater distance from the commuter rail tracks.

The old line is within three feet of the tracks in many places. So, to do maintenance and other work on them in the past, National Grid would have to either have the MBTA trains stopped or work around their schedule, said Dan Cameron, manager of community and customer management for National Grid.

Once the new cables are installed, the majority will be far enough from the tracks that maintenance will not involve the MBTA.

National Grid hired ElecComm Corp. of Winchester to lay the new cable.

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