SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - PSE&G construction equipment has been crisscrossing both Scotch Plains and Fanwood over the past few weeks working on a major national transmission project called the North Central Reliability Project.

The North Central Reliability Project is a part of major national transmission projects geared towards replacing aging energy infrastructure and expanding access to energy efficiency and renewable solar power.

The project, which is approximately 35 miles, follows an existing PSE&G overhead right-of-way from the West Orange Switching Station in Essex County to the Sewaren Switching Station in Middlesex County. The line will traverse five counties and go through West Orange, Livingston, Roseland, Florham Park, Chatham Borough, Chatham Twp., New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Watchung, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Clark, Edison, Metuchen and Woodbridge. The route chosen by the utilities follows an existing right of way to help minimize impact on people and the environment.

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 “The project will relieve transmission system overloads and provide better power quality in the region” said Sharon Laudisi, PSE&G’s Communications Consultant..

PSE&G notes that the need to upgrade New Jersey’s transmission backbone is apparent considering not only the age of the system, but also the growth of electric consumption. “All the electronic appliances and gadgets that families find essential—mobile phones, computers, flat-screen televisions and other devices—have put new strains on an already congested grid. Electricity usage per person has more than doubled since the 1970s. Upgrading the grid to handle the evolving demand for power isn’t a luxury, but rather a necessity— especially in a densely populated, high-tech state such as New Jersey.”

“We communicate and meet with residents and municipal officials along the project route to keep them up to date,” explains Kim Hanemann, vice president of PSE&G’s delivery projects and construction. “In addition to holding public workshops to address questions and concerns, we maintain project-related Web sites to help ensure relevant information is widely available. We see this as important to meeting our responsibilities to the public and maintaining the company’s reputation as a good neighbor.”

In Fanwood, two of the foundations have been drilled in the right-of-way between Farley Ave. and Cottage Way, and between Oak Ct. and Elm Ave.

 Heavy construction work will continue inside the Fanwood Substation (between La Grande Ave. and South Ave.)  Since the project inception, some of the locations have been moved.

According to PSE&G, their work will proceed in a number of phases over the next year or so in this area. “Early on people will see some clearing, as necessary, on the right-of-way. New foundations will be drilled and concrete for those foundations will be poured and allowed to cure. Customers can expect heavy truck traffic with concrete trucks, drills, flatbeds hauling rebar cages, and dump trucks.

The right-of-way in all areas will become an active construction zone. Therefore, PSE&G issues a warning, “As safety is our highest priority at PSE&G, it is essential that the public refrain from going on the right-of-way during this heavy construction. Please ensure that all children and pets are also kept away from the right-of-way throughout the construction period.” “We also are working in close coordination with the local police departments along the right-of-way to minimize the off-site traffic impacts of our project,” they add.

The project is expected to be in completion by June 2014.