Delmarva Power will replace wooden poles with steel

Delmarva Power will begin rebuilding an 11-mile transmission line between Cool Spring and Millsboro in January 2020.

The $21.5 million project will modernize the transmission lines and optical ground wiring. Optical ground wiring functions both as a communicator and as a protective barrier for the transmission lines.

Eighty-eight wooden poles will be replaced with 89 galvanized steel poles from 87 to 196 feet tall.

“They’re stronger in bad weather. For instance, they can withstand 125-mile-per-hour winds,” said Delmarva Power spokesman Timothy Stokes.

Steel poles last longer compared to wood with less maintenance. The upgrades have already been paid for, through Delmarva Power energy bills, and will enhance service reliability for about 75,800 Sussex County customers. It is part of Delmarva Power’s plan to modernize the local grid. Infrastructure improvements in recent years have led to a 34 percent decrease in outage frequency, with 2018 having lowest frequency rate ever.

“There are three lines in this right of way and we’re in the center, so it’s not encroaching out further,” said lead project engineer Brandon Snyder.

Construction will begin at the Indian River substation in Millsboro and work its way north to the Cool Spring substation. The project is expected to be completed by November 2020, pending weather conditions.