UNION, NJ – Some township residents are seeing trees removed and new 75-foot utility poles installed, as part of PSE&G’s electrical upgrade program and the township's 2019 road program.

According to township engineer Phil Haderer, the program is intended to add resiliency and redundancy to the electrical grid and reduce the occurrence of electrical outages in the township.  “Superstorm Sandy in 2012 devastated the town with extended power outages for weeks in some sectors,” said Haderer.  “This program is intended to provide a reliable source of power particularly during severe weather events.”  Because the new electrical cable connecting the substations carries 69 kilovolts, cables need to be placed on new 75-foot utility poles to maintain adequate separation distances from other services on the pole, said Haderer.

Haderer said 37 trees on Winslow Avenue are being removed during the initial phase of the project, although 13 of the removed trees are at the request of the township as part of their 2019 road program.  In connection with the PSE&G upgrades, 24 trees are being removed because the tree canopies conflict with the wiring on the 75-foot high utility poles.

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Haderer said 13 of the trees will conflict with new sidewalks and curb work under the township’s 2019 road program.  “Tree roots have uplifted the sidewalk in many areas creating tripping hazards. New sidewalk and curb installation also requires tree root trimming which causes the tree to become unstable and become a high risk of collapse.”

PSE&G will remove the stumps and replant two trees in the public right-of-way for each tree removed, according to Haderer.  The township’s road work program will additionally replant trees after the road construction is complete.  He said funding for the town’s tree replanting effort on Winslow Avenue is derived from the NJDOT Local Aid Grant.

“The Township is definitely “pro-tree” and is committed to maintaining and increasing our tree canopy throughout town,” said Tammie Baldwin, Assistant Business Administrator.  “Unfortunately, there are times when removing large, mature trees becomes necessary in order to make infrastructure improvements -- more specifically road reconstruction.  In these instances, the Township has incorporated funds into the road programs to allow for the re-planting of trees in the right of way that have to be removed.”

Haderer said PSE&G will be upgrading its electrical facilities with new aboveground and underground electrical cable throughout Union, including the electrical substations on Stanley Terrace, Springfield Road and Vauxhall Road.

In additional to Winslow Avenue, the preliminary list of roads scheduled under the township’s 2019 road work program are Morrison Avenue (Winslow to Omara), Woolley Avenue, Weber Street, Fairway Drive, South (phase I), Potter Avenue (Morris to Salem), Higa Terrace, Palisade Road, Clover Terrace, Eleanor Terrace, Smith Street, Cider Mill Road, Huguenot Avenue, South (Salem to Nixon), Oak Hill Drive, Schuyler Way, Pitcher Terrace, Wayne Terrace, Dusquesne Terrace, Newark Avenue, Marshall Street, Ward Street, Cedar Avenue, Robert Street, and Louis Place.

Baldwin said