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Rocky Mountain Power wildfire mitigation project nears completion

Crews working to complete Rocky Mountain Power's wildfire mitigation project along Highway 224
Crews working to complete Rocky Mountain Power's wildfire mitigation project along state Route 224.

The powerline work along state Route 224 in Park City is expected to wrap up next month.

After seven months of winter conditions, Rocky Mountain Power has resumed work on its multi-million dollar wildfire mitigation project along state Route 224 in Park City.

The utility company is updating its transmission and distribution lines from the Snyderville substation, near the Utah Olympic Park, to the substation in downtown Park City.

It’s part of a six-state, half-a-billion-dollar, improvement project designed to prevent and mitigate wildfires, particularly those caused by electrical disturbances.

Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson David Eskelsen said in addition to the new weather- and fire-resistant steel power poles, distribution lines, those that carry power to neighborhoods, are being buried.

“We are replacing, you know, certain control structures with modernized equipment that is less prone to produce any sparking that could create a fire,” said Eskelsen. “And also that distribution line will be taken off the existing structures and placed underground.”

Eskelsen said crews should finish replacing most of the above-ground structures by May 15, and the trenching work should finish around June 1. Rocky Mountain Power anticipates the entire project will be online by the end of June.

Once completed, Eskelsen said, the improvements will not only reduce fire risk, it will also increase overall reliability and improve service for Rocky Mountain Power customers.

“One of the things that we've been working on in recent years is making sure that the whole Park City Wasatch Back area has two major transmission feeds, one that comes up Parleys Canyon and the other in the south that comes up Provo Canyon,” said Eskelsen. “And we have completed making that entire loop so that if anything happens to either of those feeds, the other one can handle the entire load.”

Eskelsen would not say for certain if Rocky Mountain Power customers will see their electric bills go up, only that a capital investment in equipment to serve customers does eventually factor into rates.

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