Nelson Hydro has been working for months on converting the old alleyway poles into a newer

Nelson Hydro has been working for months on converting the old alleyway poles into a newer

Hydro conversion nears completion

After months of work in the downtown alleyways, Nelson Hydro has finally connected businesses into its new, higher voltage power system.

After months of work in the downtown alleyways, Nelson Hydro has finally connected all businesses along Baker and Vernon streets into its new, higher voltage power system.

The final connection was completed last week and now crews are doing a final check of the infrastructure and any cleanup work required before clearing out of the area.

“We really appreciate the cooperation we’ve received from businesses and tenants throughout the whole term of the project,” said project manager Terry Andreychuk, noting that parking and traffic flow were impacted by crews working on the lines.

Since July workers have been moving Nelson Hydro utility lines off the old wooden archway poles. A lot of the cable was no longer needed, since the electricity provider had installed new primary downtown distribution lines underground a few years back, upgrading the service from 4 kV to 25 kV in the process.

New single-pole utility structures were installed to hold the secondary hydro distribution lines, which connect to individual businesses, as well as communication lines that will eventually be moved over by the service providers like Telus and Shaw.

Andreychuk expects that by this fall everything will be off the old poles and they will be removed completely.

“It’s going to really open up the alleyways and make them look a lot cleaner,” he said of finally removing the poles. “They’ve well exceeded their lifespan.”

After the project is complete, a replica of one of the old archway poles will be installed next to Touchstones Nelson, as a reminder of what the alleyways use to look like.

Benefits of the downtown voltage conversion project:

• Improved reliability of downtown electrical service, with fewer outages;

• Improved power quality, for future business sector expansion;

• Fewer poles in the alleyways, making for easier vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, parking and delivery;

• Improved lighting and improved aesthetic, with less visual clutter;

• Replacement of end of life electrical plant (poles, wires and transformers).