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Construction Updates

Project designed to improve cellular service

Chugach is working with AT&T as it adds small cell equipment around the Chugach service area to improve cellular connectivity in Anchorage. The small cells are designed to improve voice and data services, allowing for faster downloads and better call quality. The equipment is mounted on light poles and serves a small area around the location.  

Each site is separately metered and billed to AT&T by Chugach for the energy used. The small cell equipment uses about one third the energy of an average home.  So far, 42 small cell installations are currently planned in the Chugach service territory, with about 27 completed.  More locations could be added in the future. 

Emergency communications enhanced

A mobile communications trailer is the latest addition to Chugach’s emergency preparedness. The trailer will be utilized in emergency situations to establish wireless communications with any one of our several communication sites.

In the event of a major outage after a big storm or natural disaster, it can be used to reestablish critical data and voice communications. In an event with major damage, the trailer can be moved to a safe and secure site. The unit is equipped with a standby generator and a 60-foot extendable tower.

Earthquake damaged pole replaced

Chugach crews had a challenging job in early May, changing out a power pole that was severely damaged from a rockslide triggered by the Nov. 30, 2018 earthquake. The pole is located at Mile 106 of the Seward Highway and serves the community of Rainbow. After planning, coordinating, and securing permits with the Department of Transportation, crews had to hike into the pole site on the side of the mountain. The broken pole had to first be dug out using a small excavator before the new pole could be installed. Chugach worked with Alpha Aviation who provided helicopter support to fly out the damaged pole, and fly in both the excavator and the new pole. The whole job was completed safely and without incident.

Transmission line rebuild will improve reliability

A project rebuilding nine miles of the existing 115-kilovolt transmission line between the Hope Substation and the Summit Lake Substation is underway. The project got underway in January and is expected to be complete by April 1. It includes upgrading the line between Mile 46 and Mile 55 of the Seward Highway from 115 kV to 230 kV.

The existing line has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced. The upgrade will improve reliability and increase the future power transfer capacity from the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage.

Backcountry users and highway travelers are advised to keep an eye out for construction equipment operating in the right-of-way, disruption of trail surfaces, and increased truck traffic on the Seward Highway.