Comment of the Day: The Transmission Lines Are Always Deeper on the Other Side

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE TRANSMISSION LINES ARE ALWAYS DEEPER ON THE OTHER SIDE Transmission Line Tower Installation, Westpark Dr.,  77081“While working with Entergy in New Orleans (12 plus years ago), at every public meeting I went to, citizens always complained about the city’s third world look when we would tell them burying power lines was not a part of the long-term plan (maintenance and upgrades). They would frequently state that no other major city had above ground lines — and that on their most recent business trip to Houston, they did not see any above ground,  and that we should follow Houston’s lead.” [Nend, commenting on Electrical Transmission Lines About To Get Really High by the Dog Park at 59 and 610] Photo of current and replacement electrical transmission towers at Westpark Dr. and 610: Swamplot inbox

3 Comment

  • Burying lines may not be a perfect solution in Houston. ~15 years ago DC had a problem with “exploding manholes.” Manhole covers would randomly shoot up into the air due to an underground explosion/fire and killed a few people. As I recall, they finally attributed it to corrosion on the wires due to salt on the street spread in the winter. Apparently, they still have the problem and are also now blaming it on leaking gas. Sure, it would be great to have power post-hurricane and that the squirrels couldn’t knock out power anymore, but I’m not sure how well the wires would survive after a few years of Houston flood waters.

  • Occasional flooding and an elevated water table are precisely the reasons why Houston has an above ground transmission infrastructure. Above ground lines actually have very good windstorm resistance though not such good resistance to falling objects like trees. But above ground infrastructure is also easier to troubleshoot after a storm. The only weather related reason to bury the transmission lines is in climates where the weight of ice and snow presents a persistent hazard to the lines.

  • There are places where buried power lines would make a lot of sense from an urban standpoint. I’m thinking specifically along Westpark across 59 from Greenway Plaza. Imagine if those aerial power lines were buried and replaced with mid rise condos and apartments. They could (ahem) have first floor retail too, and broad sidewalks. The Westpark right of way is wide enough for that. Maybe an occasional taller building on the north side facing 59. It’d be a really great way to get higher density in a desirable area Inside the Loop, without having to change the character of people’s neighborhoods.