CAMANO ISLAND — Whenever a windstorm blows through Camano Island, residents expect the lights to go out. Branches will snap, trees are going to fall. Power lines break. And potentially thousands of people can lose power at a time.
But stormy nights on the island might get a little less dark, as the Snohomish County Public Utilities District gets started on an $8 million project to reduce power outages.
This summer, crews will be stringing up five miles of line. It’ll be the largest transmission line project the PUD has undertaken, and the second one serving the island. It’ll build redundancy, so if one goes out, the other can still juice electricity to residents.
Potentially, power outages could be reduced from hours to a matter of minutes, PUD spokesperson Aaron Swaney said — however long it takes to switch electricity over to the other line, assuming that’s not also down.
Construction should start in July north of Stanwood, then west to Camano Island, ending at the substation there. PUD expects minimal traffic impacts along Highway 532. Traffic control will be in place when needed.
PUD will also expand and upgrade its Camano substation, replace aging equipment, do maintenance on its original transmission line and trim trees.
As construction season gets underway, PUD will be looking to do some other work, including projects at the Sky Valley substation in Monroe; the Edgecomb substation near Smokey Point; and the Harbour Pointe substation in Mukilteo.
Crews will move 80 poles to accommodate a road widening in Lynnwood near 43rd and 36th avenues. And about a half-mile of transmission line will be re-routed along the Everett waterfront, out to Marine View Drive.
Plans also call for replacing hundreds of aging poles, assessing and treating thousands of others, and redoing dozens of miles of underground cable.