Major electric-line replacement in Palo Alto could cause traffic delays on Alma Street starting Tuesday, June 19, the City of Palo Alto has announced.
Existing 60 kilovolt electric lines -- the uppermost of the wires hanging between the utility poles -- are being replaced all along Alma between the Park Boulevard Substation and Encina Avenue. Some poles will also be replaced to better accommodate the new, larger-sized wire.
The older wire is being replaced with wire that is lighter, stronger and can carry more current, which means better service to all customers and added service to new customers, said Debra Katz, city utilities communications manager.
Work will take place June 19 through Aug. 18 and will be completed in sections. Only a few blocks will be disrupted at any one time, she said.
Northbound Alma Street will have some single-lane closures at different points. Some closures might occur during morning commute hours.
"We are trying to minimize the impact to commuters as much as possible, but the crews need enough time to make specific amounts of progress each day and do so safely," Katz said.
Power outages will also occur during the final stages of placing the new wire. It is necessary to shut off the power to the 12-kilovolt lines hanging below the main line to guarantee the safety of the workers, she said. The shutoff will happen twice, but not to the same customers.
Shutoffs will occur in mid-July and at the end of the project and will last about 10 hours. Most customers will be "back-fed" during these shutoffs and won't actually lose power. The few customers -- mostly along Alma -- who must be temporarily turned off will be notified individually well in advance, Katz said.
The line replacement is a Council-approved, budgeted capital-improvement project. It is being supervised by the city's Utilities Electric Engineering division.