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Unitil plans tree maintenance, removal in Bow, Canterbury, Penacook

As summer storms turn to winter gales, energy provider Unitil will begin a tree maintenance and removal program this week to protect its electrical lines in Bow, Canterbury and Penacook during bad weather.

Sara Sankowich, system arborist for Unitil, said crews will work through the end of the year to remove about 2,000 trees and trim limbs on others.

“We’re doing tree pruning and clearing that’s more extensive than our typical pruning and clearing program, and it’s along critical portions of our electric overhead lines,” Sankowich said. “Basically it’s to help make our electric infrastructure a little bit more resilient to some of the major storm events that we’ve been having in the past couple years.”

Crews are setting up to remove trees along 18 miles of electrical lines in Bow, 8 miles in Penacook and 6 miles in Canterbury. Traffic will be restricted to one lane in some areas.

In Canterbury, major work will be completed along West Road and Center Road. In Bow, Bow Bog Road, Bow Center Road, River Road and Route 3A could see delays for work crews, as well as along Village Street, Washington Street, River Road and Charles Street in Penacook.

Smaller streets could also be affected by the tree work in those towns, Sankowich said, but most of the work will not require closing any roads.

Unitil services approximately 3,100 customers in Bow, 600 in Canterbury and 2,400 in Penacook.

The company completed a similar program in Plaistow, Atkinon and Newton in the southeastern region of New Hampshire in fall 2012. When Hurricane Sandy brought major storms to the region last year, Sankowich said customers in those towns where the tree work had been completed experienced fewer to no power outages.

“From that, we learned that we were choosing the right trees, and we were making a difference,” Sankowich said. “The people in those towns showed overwhelming support.”

Communities that wish to replace trees that have been removed can participate in Unitil’s Right Tree-Right Place program, which identifies smaller trees that could grow underneath power lines.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter
@megan_e_doyle.)

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