Route 10 work set for a year

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Power work: Crews with Mastec, a subcontractor for Dominion Virginia Power, will have one lane of Godwin Boulevard closed most days for the next several months while they upgrade the power line system in that area.

Dominion Virginia Power will apply the brakes to traffic along Godwin Boulevard for the next several months during an overhaul of the power lines, according to a spokesperson.

Workers from Mastec, a Dominion subcontractor, are completing one of the phases of a lengthy project to replace power wires, poles and transformers on Route 10 from the Western Branch Reservoir bridge through the village of Chuckatuck.

“It’s a big project,” Dominion operations manager Mike Doughtie said. “The facilities we have there have about reached the end of life. It’s also a capacity expansion.”

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He said the company hopes to have the current phase completed by the end of the year, but the entire project will continue through next year.

The first couple of phases were completed in summer 2010.

While the work continues, Mastec trucks will take up one lane of the highway for a portion of the day.

“Unfortunately, the inconvenience that the citizens are going to see over the next 12 or 15 months up and down the road is going to be frustrating,” he said.

Doughtie said the company is working closely with the city of Suffolk to ensure the trucks are out of the way during peak traffic hours.

However, he added, the project is designed to expand the electrical capacity in the Chuckatuck area to accommodate recent growth.

Doughtie said the work being done alongside the highway is to prepare for rebuilding the power station on Godwin Boulevard into a facility that can handle a higher capacity of power.

“We want to get the distribution up to speed,” he said. “What we are doing on highway 10 is in support of that project.”

The workers are visiting every pole along the highway and making sure the equipment is up to date and can handle higher voltage.

Doughtie said most of the poles, wires and transformers will be replaced by the end of the project.

This will affect residents’ power, he said, but only for a short time.

“When we take these transformers down, a customer will be out for a very short period of time,” he said, estimating outages lasting an hour or two, at most.

He said the project is designed to improve the dependability of power and deal with the population growth in the area.

“Ultimately, this will improve the reliability in the area,” Doughtie said. “It’s an inconvenience, but unfortunately, we have to do it to be able to get to the lines.”