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Council approves hybrid power line plan for downtown; LCEC will solicit bids

By Staff | Sep 9, 2008

An estimated $1.9 million plan to bring new transmission lines to Cape Coral’s downtown area took one step closer to becoming reality Monday as council members voted unanimously to approve a project that would install overhead and underground lines.

The plan would install overhead lines along Southeast 46th Street from Del Prado Boulevard west to Coronado Parkway, and run underground lines from Coronado Parkway south to a substation just north of the Cape Coral Parkway intersection.

Officials with the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency and Lee County Electrical Cooperative have been working in tandem to bring forth a proposal palatable to both parties.

CRA officials’ main concern has been getting underground lines within its boundaries as opposed to unsightly overhead lines that would discourage vertical development, while LCEC officials have been seeking to provide greater electrical reliability and capacity to its downtown Cape customers.

Rick Fuson, director of electrical operations for LCEC, said the estimated $1.9 million estimate is not set in stone.

“These are very, very rough ballpark estimates,” Fuson said.

He added that the current plan would underground about 1,750 feet of cable, while another proposal would lay 1.2 miles of underground lines along a different route in the CRA and cost an estimated $4.4 million.

The CRA conceptually approved the plan last month.

“Overhead lines are not pretty, that’s just the plain truth of it,” said CRA interim executive director John Jacobsen.

“It is the least impactful,” he added of the plan.

Jacobsen also wanted to ensure the CRA is in the loop as progress is made on the project.

“We would like to maintain a seat at the table on this,” he said.

LCEC will now seek designs and bids from outside firms for the underground portion of the project before bringing it back to the council for final approval. LCEC does not install underground lines.