The New York Power Authority has received the go-ahead from the New York State Public Service Commission for the second construction phase of its Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild. The 86-mile, $484 million project in St. Lawrence County was approved during Thursday’s Public Service Commission meeting. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The New York Power Authority has received the go-ahead from the New York State Public Service Commission for the second construction phase of its Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild.

The 86-mile, $484 million project in St. Lawrence County was approved during Thursday’s Public Service Commission meeting.

The Public Service Commission had granted authorization for the project in 2019. The first of two phases, which is currently underway, includes replacing 78 miles of the existing wooden structures and replacing them with steel monopoles.

As part of the project, the distance between poles is extended, further minimizing the use of space on the right-of-way and greatly reducing the number of poles on the landscape. The rebuilt lines will be taller but stronger, less susceptible to failure and able to better withstand inclement weather, such as ice storms. The reduced size of the project also means less of an impact on agriculture and wetlands.

The second phase stretches about 45 miles of transmission eastward from Massena to the town of Clinton, known as the Northern Alignment, and rebuilding about 55 miles of transmission southward from Croghan to Marcy, known as the Southern Alignment.

It also includes rebuilding and expanding several substations along the impacted transmission corridor.

The two segments are connected by NYPA’s Smart Path Moses-Adirondack transmission project that began construction early last year and spans about 78 miles from Massena to Croghan.

In its entirety, the Smart Path Reliability Project traverses through 12 towns from north to south — Massena, Louisville, Norfolk, Madrid, Potsdam, Canton, Russell, Hermon, Edwards and Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County, and Diana and Croghan in Lewis County.

“The development of new transmission in New York State is key to our ability to get 70 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector by 2040,” Public Service Commission Chair John B. Howard said in a statement. “Projects such as the Smart Path project and the Rock Tavern project enhance and improve transmission across the State and are absolutely vital to make the renewable energy generated upstate accessible for the entire State.”

During construction, electrical customers will not have their service disrupted. Both phases of the rebuilt transmission lines are expected to be completed in 2023.

The Smart Path project is necessary to rebuild facilities that are well past their serviceable lifetime to make them more resilient and reduce maintenance costs. The rebuilt transmission lines are needed to deliver electricity, including carbon-free hydroelectric power, from Northern New York to the rest of the State; to re-energize the bulk electric system as a component of the New York Independent System Operator’s System Restoration Plan in the event of a future widespread outage; and to provide increased capacity for future expansion to meet New York’s clean energy targets.

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