Beverly to hold public hearing on National Grid project to power Cape Ann | News

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BEVERLY — The Beverly City Council will hold a public hearing Monday on a project to replace an existing cable that supplies power to more than 150,000 people in Beverly, Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Hamilton and Wenham.

The hearing is scheduled for 8 p.m. on the third floor of Beverly City Hall, 191 Cabot St.

National Grid said the existing cable is old and has had several outages over the past few years. But Beverly residents have raised concerns about the potential health impacts from the new high-voltage cable’s magnetic field as well as about the disruption from digging up the streets in front of homes and businesses.

The new transmission line would cover 3.7 miles and go through nearly 30 streets in Beverly. It would start just over the bridge in Salem, attach to the underside of the bridge, then be routed through several streets in Beverly to connect to a substation near Boyles Street in the Cove neighborhood.

The existing cable runs mostly along railroad tracks, but National Grid says there is not enough room to locate the new cable along the tracks because it is larger and there are other cables, pipes and overhead lines in the way. The company also said it would have to remove the old cable before installing the new one, leaving thousands of residents relying only on overhead transmission lines for their electricity until the project is done.

National Grid says the project would be completed in summer of 2023 and cost around $91 million.

As far to residents’ concern over electromagnetic fields, National Grid says they would be mostly blocked because the cable is underground, and that levels will be “far below” the standards recommended by the World Health Organization.

The project was approved by the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board last October. But the company needs a “grant of location” approval from the City Council before it can proceed.

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