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Chandler, SRP Strike Deal On Power Line Placement

Salt River Project and Chandler have struck a deal more than four years in the making to build a new power line.

“We’re going to be able to bring in needed new service so that we can support economic growth, but we can do so with less impact on the residential areas nearby and I think that fits everybody’s needs,” said SRP Spokesman Scott Harelson.

The utility company will run a double circuit 230-kilovolt power line from the northern end of the Price Road Corridor south to a new substation, in part, along Price Road. That portion of the line will be buried underground.

Residents and Chandler officials previously worried an above-ground line would be too unsightly.

“Above-ground, those are huge lines and the visual look on the premier high-tech corridor in the state would be very negative and adverse to our community,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny.

An option to run a line on Ellis Road would require replacing existing structures near homes with larger infrastructure.

The cost to bury the lines will be millions of dollars higher than to build above-ground lines.

Harelson previously estimated the underground installation could cost up to $16 million a mile.

Chandler will move underground utilities, which will help lower the cost, Harelson said. It will also pay for the difference using aesthetic funds— money SRP distributes to cities to help pay for beautification projects. 

“Those funds are based on the amount of construction we do in those cities in a calendar year,” Harelson said.

SRP and Chandler do not have a cost estimate for laying the lines underground.

Chandler Spokesman Matthew Burdick said in an email the agreement allows the city to use $11.5 million in aesthetic funds toward the project.

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.