Though it would have been the cheapest alternative, Seattle City Light has dropped an unpopular alternative route that would have required 100-foot towers across Capitol Hill and the Central District for its planned 115-kilovolt transmission line connecting the coming Denny Substation with the city’s grid.
CHS first reported on the issue in October as City Light began the public process to scope the project. City Light planners said the route — up Denny to 14th Ave and then south through the CD to the Massachusetts substation — was an unlikely choice but included the route as one of three proposed options for the line. Neighbors in the area took to flyering existing utility poles and sharing information via email lists and, of course, by word of mouth. By January, the public feedback on the route was still coming in — and still decidedly against the proposed alternative.
While a major infrastructure project will still take place just off the Hill along Denny, it appears residents and businesses in the area won’t need to be concerned with giant towers being part of the project. As part of the just-released State Environmental Policy Act impact statement (PDF) on the project, City Light has revealed that planners have reduced the route alternatives to two underground paths through downtown:
During the scoping process, City Light presented three preliminary transmission alternatives representing a range ofcost, construction methods, and possible impacts. City Light stated a preference for building transmission west of I‐5 iffeasible. At this time, City Light does not intend to proceed with the primarily overhead route east of I‐5 and that optionwill not be evaluated as an alternative within the Draft EIS. The decision to delete this route as an alternative for thisproject was based on the viability of more direct alternatives that have limited short‐term construction impacts. Thetwo transmission line alternatives that will be evaluated within the Draft EIS are:
- Transmission Line Alternative 1 (TL1) ‐ underground through downtown Seattle (generally along the eastern edge of the Downtown Seattle Business Core)
- Transmission Line Alternative 2 (TL2) ‐ through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (tunnel)