Updated: 5:12 p.m. March 11

WESTFIELD, NJ — A statewide upgrade to PSE&G’s electrical infrastructure coming to the town will mean taller, fatter utility poles carrying more powerful lines.

The upgrades will include the installation of the taller and wider poles so the utility can meet the safety requirement for upgrading its wires to the 69 kilovolts PSE&G is seeking for increased reliability, the utility announced.

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How much taller?

The new poles will be 57 feet to 65 feet tall, which is about 15 feet taller than the existing poles, the utility said.

Representatives for PSE&G told Westfield’s Town Council last month that it will remove 54 trees and trim 43 more of them before installing the poles. Where applicable, the utility will replace trees it has removed with those that do not grow as tall as utility wires, the representatives said.

Where in Westfield?

The work will happen on Scotch Plains Avenue, Shackamaxon Drive, Rahway Avenue, Grove Street, Central Avenue and Sycamore Street, a statement from PSE&G said.

When will the work happen?

PSE&G estimates its workers will begin the trimming on March 18, then start installing the poles. The work will be done from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some work happening on the weekends and evenings.

Last Wednesday, PSE&G officials mailed letters notifying some nearby property owners of the work. The letters state that there are no planned service disruptions. The town has established a page on its website, where the public can view information about the local project.

Where else has this been done?

While new to Westfield, the project to improve the reliability of the electric grid has been ongoing for about 13 years in New Jersey. PSE&G has installed more than 331 miles of the higher voltage lines in over 60 New Jersey municipalities since 2007, the utility said.

As then reported, PSE&G conducted similar work last year in nearby Union Township.

Is it safe?

In a statement on the projects, PSE&G cites a majority of scientific studies showing no definite link between electromagnetic frequency and health issues.

“Magnetic fields from appliances like hair dryers, microwave ovens and motorized appliances are often stronger than the fields directly beneath power lines,” the statement says. “PSE&G will design and install this line according to appropriate state and federal guidelines related to safety and environmental impact.”

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh