Northern Pass collects geotechnical information on proposed route

November 26, 2013
CLARKSVILLE — The rhythmic thump of a drilling rig could be heard echoing alongside Route 3 on Tuesday morning, Nov. 19, near the 2,128-acre Washburn Family Forest that was acquired by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) in 2008.

Two skilled workers from N.H. Boring, Inc. of Derry, that offers drilling and boring services across northern New England, were operating the tracked equipment.

Northeast Utilities project manager Mark Smith was also on hand supervising the work for the proposed Northern Pass Transmission project in the state's northern reaches on this bitingly cold day that included spitting snow and a sharp breeze.

Northern Pass needs detailed soil information on some eight miles of its proposed route, that includes using directional drilling techniques to bury some 2,300 feet of its High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) line beneath the Connecticut River.

Geologist Scott Shay of Waltham, Mass., who works out of the Bedford office of Haley & Aldrich that specializes in underground engineering, environmental science and management consulting, was playing a key role in the day's operation.

Shay cheerfully collected and labeled all the below-ground soil samples and materials, which he will ultimately transport to a laboratory for analysis. The back of his pickup had a number of long wood boxes filled with neatly labeled core samples of rock that had been collected on previous days from below-ground locations where NPT proposes to underground some seven-plus miles of HVDC cables in duct banks. The lab will be report the geotechnical information that will be needed to complete the permit application process now underway.

They are undertaking a total of 29 geotechnical borings, of which this was the 25th, Shay said. He had also consulted information collected fro when the 24-inch Portland Natural Gas Transmission System line was installed, available on the state's geologic maps, and in reports published after conferences are held on the area's geologic history. Haley & Aldrich also contracted for a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) flight using a state-of-the-art remote-sensing technique to gain very accurate measurements of the earth's surface.

The men on site added that the residents they have met while staying at the Northern Comfort motel on Route 3 in Colebrook and while enjoying meals at local restaurants have been very welcoming, despite the controversy surrounding the proposed project itself.

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