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International power tower takes shape

Crews from O’Connell Electric and National Grid face a tall order Wednesday as they erect huge new towers near the intersection of Niagara Street and Busti Avenue that will soon ferry the 0.7-mile-long International Power Line over the Niagara River between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ont. The 120-foot-long sections were lifted into place by a massive crane, and will rise to a height of 195 feet in Buffalo and 255 feet in Fort Erie. While National Grid crews work on the Buffalo side of the river, the project is sponsored by Canadian Niagara Power as a backup line if imported power is needed, according to National Grid spokesman Stephen Brady. Canadian Niagara, meanwhile, said the new structures will replace “lattice” type towers built in 1916 and a line de-energized in 2011. Some of the old towers were imploded in 2014 to begin the project, which aims to provide a reliable connection of the Canadian Niagara transmission system in Fort Erie to the National Grid system in Buffalo. Despite regular maintenance, the transmission towers and lines are at the end of their useful lives, Canadian Niagara Power officials said, and are scheduled for dismantling.