PPL Electric Utilities of Allentown has announced plans to rebuild a power line that provides electricity to more than 27,800 customers in Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks counties.
The line, called the Quarry-Seidersville transmission line, runs along the border of Bethlehem and Freemansburg to Lower Saucon Township.
The project is part of a $1 billion effort the utility previously announced to reduce power outages during major storms, such as last year's Hurricane Sandy, and to improve overall service reliability.
The company said the project will make the power line much less likely to be knocked out by high winds or lightning strikes.
The new line will include several features designed to make it less vulnerable to storm damage.
It will have two overhead ground wires to protect the line from lightning strikes, instead of the existing single-wire design.
Fault detectors will be installed to tell operators where any damage is located and help to speed repairs and restoration of power. And new, remotely controlled motorized switches can be used to isolate a damaged part of the line and restore power more quickly to customers elsewhere on the line.
Preparatory work, including surveying, environmental permitting studies, engineering reviews and other work, will begin immediately.
The company expects to file a formal request for approval by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission late this summer. If approved by the PUC, construction is expected to begin next March, and the project will be completed later next year.