SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 15, 2014

National Grid work downtown delayed

Business owners want gas mains replaced in off-season

(Continued)

“We’re working closely with the mayor’s office and city officials to establish a new schedule that will cause a minimum amount of disruption, while still allowing National Grid to do this important work to further enhance the safety and reliability of our system,” Navarro said.

City officials said they were pleased about the delay.

“Fortunately, they’ve responded to the feedback from the city and local businesses about slowing down this work until more sufficient notice and public outreach can be made,” said Dominick Pangallo, the mayor’s chief of staff, in an email.

“They’re working with us,” Knowlton said. “They should be able to comply with everybody’s concerns about the best time to do the work.”

Knowlton said he hopes to hear back soon from National Grid about the revised schedule.

“I’m hoping the next couple of days,” he said.

Although there’s a possibility that some of the work could wait until November — after the city’s tourism season comes to a close — it needs to be done before the cable-replacement project, which National Grid has said it wants to begin that same month, Knowlton said.

City officials and local businesses have previously raised doubts about National Grid’s plan to replace the transmission lines from Salem Harbor Station to the substation on Canal Street, which would bring extensive construction work to the downtown, including in the vicinity of Salem Common.

A question on last November’s ballot determined that local voters favored a plan in which the transmission line would be installed underneath Salem Harbor, as opposed to going through the downtown, but the question was nonbinding.

Another proposed route for the line would have located it primarily along railroad tracks.

The project still must be approved by the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Board.

Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at ndempsey@salemnews.com or followed on Twitter at @NeilDempseySN.

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