JEA plan to raise powerlines over river raises eyebrows

High voltage power lines ((Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another costly plan by the JEA is coming under fire after Florida Times-Union reporter Christopher Hong reported the city-owned utility is looking at plans to raise high-voltage power lines crossing the St John’s River to allow bigger ships to access the port of Jacksonville.

Hong also reported there is confusion as to who suggested the projected and if it is actually needed.

News4Jax verified the information in the Times-Union report and has received the documents which show that the project -- yet to be approved -- could cost JEA electric ratepayers between $29 million and $96 million.

The power-line project has raised many questions since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that raising the power lines is not necessary as part of the current $484-million harbor-deepening project, also to accommodate the larger ships trying to access the Jacksonville Port Authority’s Blount Island docks.

The new JEA management team was not aware of any request by the Army Corps to raise the power lines and it has not been discussed at any recent board meetings. The project was being discussed by the former management of JEA.

JEA issued a statement after plans for the project became public Tuesday:

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Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.