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Utility seeks to replace underground transmission cable in Beverly

BEVERLY — National Grid is gearing up for a major cable replacement project that will span nearly half of the city, but it won’t hit residents as hard as the recent project in Salem.

The Beverly Regional Transmission Reliability Project aims to build a new 115-kilovolt underground electric transmission line from Bridge Street Neck in Salem to a power substation off Boyles Street in Beverly.]

The project has been the subject of mailers going out to Beverly residents and businesses in the past week, teasing an information site, maps and a public forum in early November.

“It’s a necessary improvement they’ve gotta make, because the old cable has reached the end of its service life,” said city Public Works Director Mike Collins. “You hear it in the news all the time — resiliency in the grid, and this is where it starts.”

The existing line, first installed in 1971, runs along the state’s MBTA commuter rail tracks. It also runs under the Danvers River, sitting on the river bed alongside the rail line’s river crossing, according to National Grid spokesperson Robert Kievra.

Over the years — more-so recently — the company has frequently made repairs to the aging line, according to Kievra.

The project comes not long after a similar in part of downtown Salem and the Derby Street neighborhood. While that project proved contentious for its impacts, Collins said the proposed Beverly project should run more smoothly.

“It’s going to be similar to any other construction — a water main, gas main, sewer,” Collins said. “What people consider construction is pretty simple: digging a trench, putting four conduits in the ground, and encasing it in concrete.”

Two paths are proposed for the project. Both cross the Veterans Memorial Bridge from Salem into Beverly, then up Congress and Wellman streets before riding Webber Avenue and going from River to Park streets.

The project’s preferred route then crosses downtown Beverly through Wallis Street and briefly hits Cabot Street before turning onto Hale Street, continuing on to Lothrop Street all the way to its end on Cross Lane. From there, the line would continue to Boyles Street to its end.

A second alternative stays on Park Street where the first path jumps off. It then takes a right onto Roundy Street, crosses Cabot toward Charnock Street and follows Essex Street, Route 22, to Newbury and Pearl streets. The line would then take a right onto Lakeshore Avenue and follow the road to its end on Cross Lane, picking up where the first proposal continues at that point.

The Energy Facilities Siting Board requires project planners to provide two paths for a project. The alternative exists if the board shoots down the initial proposal, according to Kievra.

“The company believes that the preferred route is the better of the two routes and expects to construct along this route,” Kievra said. “However, since we are required to present two routes to the EFSB, we chose to show both on the website to be as transparent as possible.”

Dave Knowlton, Salem’s public works director, said the cable project in Salem “went really well.”

“I think one of the big factors was the community outreach that nGrid did,” Knowlton said. “There’s kind of an education for the neighborhoods to understand what’s going on, but as long as they do the same outreach they did before and during construction (in Salem), it’ll go smoothly.”

Being said, this project isn’t entirely in Beverly.

“It isn’t a lot of work in Salem,” Knowlton said, “but we want to make sure they follow the same protocols we had the last project to make sure the roads are put back together, that utilities aren’t damaged.”

For more information, visit the project’s site at or call 833-238-4743.

Contact Salem reporter Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or Follow him on Facebook at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.