Selecting a route with the least impact
Identifying a route within the study area presents the following main challenges:
- Taking into account populated areas as well as farmlands and logging areas
- Visually integrating the new line into the region, which is valued for its scenic beauty
- Maintaining recreational and tourist activities in the region
Environmental studies have shown that the least-impact solution consists in running the planned line along the existing 450-kV Des Cantons–New England line. However, since this line goes into Vermont, the planned line will have to move away from it in the south section in order to reach the crossing point at the Québec/New Hampshire border.
The line route studied therefore consists of two parts: a section where the line is parallel to the existing 450-kV line, and another section in which a number of line route variants are being studied. These variants lead to the border crossing point which Hydro-Québec has agreed on with its U.S. partner, Northern Pass Transmission (NPT).
Selected line route
Based on the results of its studies and the comments from community representatives and the public, Hydro-Québec has opted for the route described below.
For 80% of its length, from Des Cantons substation to the municipality of Saint-Malo, the planned line will run along the east side of the 450-kV line.
In the southern section, Hydro-Québec studied four variants that took into account technical and environmental criteria and the community’s suggestions and concerns. To reach the crossing point, the line will run west of the mountain, mainly because this side allows for a better integration into the landscape. By selecting this route, Hydro-Québec aims to bypass Mont Hereford and not interfere with outdoor activities, which are practiced more widely east of the mountain.
In addition, Hydro-Québec is currently working on optimizing the selected route by taking into account comments from residents and local authorities.
The line route variants worked out by Hydro-Québec were based on the crossing point that the company chose in conjunction with its U.S. partner.