PG&E Resumes Undergrounding Efforts on Highway 70

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PG&E has picked up undergrounding work along Highway 70 between Storrie and Rich Bar again. The project, handled by PG&E’s contractor MGE, aims to bury around 16 miles of power lines, starting about 3 miles east of the Butte-Plumas County Line and going towards Rich Bar Road. They started this back in December 2022 and continued until last October.

Now, if you’re planning to drive along that route, be prepared for some delays. PG&E has implemented one-way traffic controls while the crews trench and install conduits for the underground lines. The delays could be up to 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays (excluding holidays) until the whole project wraps up in 2025.

According to Joe Wilson, the Vice President of PG&E’s North Valley & Sierra Region, this undergrounding work is part of PG&E’s efforts to prevent wildfires in the region. They’ve seen the devastating impact of wildfires in recent years, and burying power lines is one way they’re trying to protect communities.

This initiative is part of PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program, responding to California’s increasing wildfire risk. The plan is to move 10,000 miles of power lines underground in high fire-risk areas, reducing the risk of wildfire from electrical equipment by nearly 98%. It not only helps prevent wildfires but also improves the reliability of the power supply.

PG&E has already completed similar undergrounding projects in Plumas County along Highways 89 and 70 and in Greenville.