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Clearing for Safety: Upcoming Tree Trimming Projects

OPALCO has several right-of-way clearing projects happening the coming months throughout San Juan County. Right-of-way clearing helps manage trees and vegetation near power lines and is critical for wildfire prevention and safety for the OPALCO crews.

All year long, OPALCO crews do safety checks and inspect along the miles of overhead power lines. They are looking for damage to lines and areas that need trimming or clearing. When lines have been properly cleared, it gives crews line of sight to identify issues and easier access for the needed equipment to make those repairs. Clearing under the power lines also helps to lessen the risk of wildfires.

OPALCO works with certified arborists, who are trained to work safely around high voltage lines, to advise and identify areas that need to be addressed. OPALCO follows expert guidance from various state and federal agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife on best practices for timing and maintenance methodologies.

The upcoming projects will include a mixture of brush mowing, side trimming, and tree removal. Here are the areas that where work will occur over the next few months:

Lopez Island:

  • Distribution Lines:
    • Mud Bay Road (Vista Road to Aerie Place)
    • Sound Road (ending at Cousins Road)
    • Richardson Road (Davis Bay to Vista Road)
    • Cousins Road (Mud Bay Road)
    • Richardson Road (Mud Bay to Kjargaard Road)
  • Transmission Lines:
    • Center Road (from Dill heading north to around corner)
    • Center Road to Lopez Sound Road
    • Center Road (Willbrook to Cross Road)
    • Military Road to Terminal

San Juan Island

  • Roche Harbor Road (Egg Lake to Rouleau Road)

Orcas Island

  • Deer Point area
  • Deer Harbor Road (Bodie’s Corner to Clam Harbor Road)
  • Deer Harbor Road (from Sawmill to Cormorant Bay Road)

OPALCO follows national standards for right-of-way clearing covering both sides of the pole line as follows: 10′ on each side of the line for underground distribution lines, 25′ for overhead distribution lines and 50’ for transmission lines. Property owners give OPALCO easements to maintain and clear areas around the power lines. If trees must come down, that lumber belongs to the property owner to use or dispose of as they choose. OPALCO reaches out to individual property owners to let them know of work on their property.

If you see trees or brush close to power lines, call OPALCO and a team will come out to assess and manage clearing. Please don’t attempt to cut a dead or dying tree that is leaning heavily toward OPALCO power lines. Call us!

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