WINDSOR — When a 101-foot pole was raised off Maxcy’s Mills Road Monday, it marked a significant final milestone for a construction project hailed as one of the biggest in state history.

The pole, one of thousands erected during Central Maine Power’s five-year, $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program, represents the last structure that will be required to finish the project.

“This is a special moment for everybody involved,” said CMP President and Chief Executive Officer Sara Burns. “I’m grateful to all of our employees and contractors who have worked for years to build a stronger, smarter grid for Maine. Thousands of workers and hundreds of Maine businesses have had a hand in this project over the past five years.”

Officials from several of those companies, including Mississippi-based Irby Construction Co., Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell, and Pittston-based Cianbro Corp., joined Burns for an on-site ceremony before the final pole was lifted into place by a 275-ton crane. The project involved assembling and awarding 37 contract packages.

“This is a massive celebration and represents one of the most significant economic activities this state has seen for a number of years,” said Cianbro President and CEO Peter Vigue. “A lot of young people in Maine learned some new skills and had a new opportunity here as a result of this project.”

The project, which began in the summer of 2010, involved clearing 290 miles of right of way and stringing 450 miles of transmission lines from Eliot to Orrington. The pole raised on Monday was the final of more than 5,000 structures installed for the project. That number includes building five new 345,000-volt substations and one new 115,000-volt substation.


The project, which stretches through 75 communities and touches 3,000 abutting property owners, features some impressive numbers. CMP completed more than 1,100 real estate transactions, including 700 land acquisitions to widen the corridor for the lines, and completed 6,000 contracts. The Public Utilities Commission’s approval process took two years. CMP’s application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection was the largest in state history, totaling 8,000 pages and requiring more than 12,000 environmental inspections. There were four 345,000-volt autotransformers built by Fortune Electric in Taiwan. Each one weighs more than 286 tons and was shipped to Maine on ships and hauled into place by freight train and special 128-wheel trucks.

“This is a huge milestone for all of us who have worked on this program,” said Doug Herling, vice president of special projects for CMP. “Many dedicated employees from CMP and our contractors worked for years to make this happen.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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