Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cable replacement project under way in Sun Valley

Idaho Power is replacing more than 15,000 feet of cable

Express Staff Writer

Express Staff Writer
    Idaho Power is undertaking a cable replacement project on Fairway Drive in Sun Valley from June 2 to Sept. 12 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the majority of work done on weekdays.
    On Thursday, June 5, Idaho Power representative Jim Mason told the City Council that the company plans to replace cable, install new conduction and plant above-ground sector boxes to minimize mass outages for residents.
    “It’s going to increase reliability and customer satisfaction,” Mason said.
    Idaho Power Communications Specialist Stephanie McCurdy told the Idaho Mountain Express that the project is part of a 17-year-plan to replace 7 million feet of underground cable in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. She said the project is targeting areas with known reliability issues. About 16,000 feet of new conductor will be replaced on Fairway Drive, Mason said.
    McCurdy said modern cables are insulated, because conduits make it easier to fix problems and protect the wires underground.
    “Most of the cable being replaced is 30 to 50 years old, and is in subdivisions and communities where development included new-at-the-time technology—burying the cable unjacketed and directly in the ground,” she said.
    Mason said at the meeting that building a new conductor with sector boxes would require some trenching and will impact residential landscaping, though the majority of the work won’t mar the ground surface.
    “Our strategy is to put the property back as close to the way we found it,” he said.
    Council members said there might be a problem contacting all the residents of Fairway Road regarding the project, since some of the homeowners only live there part-time. Councilwoman Michelle Griffith recommended that they work with the city in procuring master contact lists.
    Jim Bronson, a Fairway Road resident present at the meeting, asked that Idaho Power create a schematic diagram showing where the sector boxes would be built. He also said the city and Idaho Power will have a challenge in informing every Fairway Drive homeowner about the project.
     “I don’t know that anyone is aware, from a citizen and neighbor standpoint, that this project is going on,” he said. “I think, between Idaho Power and the city, there needs to be a much better level of communication.”
    Mason said Idaho Power sent laminated postcards out to residents a month ago, but Bronson said he never received one.
    Sun Valley Community Development Director Mark Hofman said the company is obligated to coordinate with residents since the construction will affect private properties.     

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