PPL Electric Utilities makes significant progress on transmission line rebuild across Susquehanna River

Photo: A view from the temporary stone causeway that PPL Electric constructed showing the nearly completed new transmission towers in the center of the Susquehanna River. 

You’ve no doubt seen the work that PPL Electric Utilities has been doing in the New Cumberland and Harrisburg areas to rebuild one of its transmission lines that crosses the Susquehanna River. The work, which kicked off in May 2023, is part of a larger, 3.2-mile transmission line project that will improve reliability for the residents in the area, reduce outages, protect the electric grid from extreme weather and enable renewable energy interconnections, for options like wind and solar, to support the transition to a cleaner energy future.

This portion of the larger project was no easy undertaking. PPL Electric had to construct a temporary stone causeway and floating road across a portion of the river to access the islands where they replaced older towers and wires. The utility has also completed tree-trimming work, built new, stronger foundations and structures and has already strung new wire across those structures. In addition, new structures and wire have also been installed in New Cumberland Borough Park. Since 2012, PPL Electric’s continued investments in transmission, like this one, have assisted in reducing frequency of transmission outages by 92 percent. 

Photo: PPL Electric has begun removing a 95-year-old, 305-foot tower from the middle of the river.

“A resilient transmission system helps us deliver safe and reliable electricity across our service territory to homes and businesses,” said PPL Electric Utilities Transmission Project and Contract Manager Jonathan Cirillo. “That’s why we invest in transmission infrastructure upgrade projects like these. They improve reliability, protect the grid from extreme weather, reduce outages and pave the way for future population growth.” 

Photo: PPL Electric used a helicopter and high-lift bucket to attach marker balls and vibration dampers to the newly strung transmission lines over the Susquehanna River.

With the reliability work now behind them, PPL Electric will next install Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lighting on the new towers and begin removing the floating road and stone causeway in November 2023. The utility will return in the spring of 2024 to plant trees and grass as well as restore areas that were impacted by the work. Overall, the full restoration of the area should wrap up in the fall of 2024. To learn more about the project, check out its virtual open house at pplelectric.com/harrisburgproject.