Entergy New Orleans next month will begin a yearlong project to replace miles of overhead transmission lines in some areas of Uptown and Carrollton-Hollygrove in an effort to improve the reliability and capacity of the local power grid.
The $30 million project will start in July and is expected to conclude in late May 2016.
“When completed, the city will have a technologically advanced system with increased capacity and reliability,” Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice said. He said the upgrade is required to “move more power with greater efficiency.”
The transmission work is also a necessary step toward shutting down an aging power station in the Michoud area. The facility, built in the 1960s, is scheduled to go offline next year, meaning more power is going to be sent over some of the grid’s existing lines.
The project involves replacing 230-kilovolt transmission lines with a high-voltage wire that is reinforced with an aluminum composite. The change will increase transmission capacity at Entergy’s Napoleon and Derbigny substations, the company said.
The new project will be split into two phases, both beginning at the utility’s Ninemile generator in Westwego.
The first phase will begin in July and conclude in October. It will involve replacing lines from Ninemile to the Napoleon substation, Entergy transmission manager Rick Torres said.
The second phase, to begin in October and stretch into late May 2016, will include replacing wires from Ninemile to the Derbigny substation.
The project will not require upgrading the transmission conductors or wires over the Mississippi River, Torres said. But it will require large, heavy machinery and cause some traffic headaches near Audubon Park and along Magazine and Annunciation streets during the first phase.
The second phase will affect traffic in the Carrollton-Hollygrove area, including Cambronne Street and the outer portions of the Xavier University footprint, the company said.
“We understand there is some fatigue in New Orleans regarding public infrastructure projects, but we know that New Orleanians are resilient and forward-thinking,” Rice said. “We are confident that the end product will be a technologically superior, reliable and advanced electric power transmission system that will help support and grow the region’s economy.”
Entergy will host two informational sessions this week for residents of the impacted areas. They will be Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Audubon Tea Room, 6500 Magazine St., and Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Lyons Recreation Center, 624 Louisiana Ave.