Some concerned JEA project could hurt home values in Bartram Park

Power pole and line project scheduled to get underway this spring

By Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - JEA is planning to install more than 100 power poles on U.S. 1 north of Race Track Road, which would link power substations in Bartram Park, but there's some concern from the community over what the area will look like afterward.

The utility said the Electric Improvement Project is in its final design and preconstruction stages. The plan is to install 103 power poles, either concrete or steel, to create 150,000 feet of transmission conductor and 50,000 feet of shield wire to protect from lightning.

READ: Electric Improvement Project frequently asked questions 

JEA wants to connect the Bartram electric substation on Race Track Road to the new Greenland Energy Center. A video that was posted on the utility's website showing where the power poles would go was removed.

Gerri Boyce, the utility's spokesperson, said the video was "to provide customers an aerial tour of the project route and was not intended to be a final depiction of the project area."

Boyce said the video will be posted after clarifications are made. 

The spokesperson noted "the buffer between the condos/homes and the tracks will not be touched as part of the project, just between U.S. 1 and the railroad tracks."

Some residents in Bartram Park have reached out to News4Jax, saying they're concerned and opposed to the project. They think tall power lines could drive down property values and create a risk to local schools and businesses. 

"I feel strongly that this is not a great location," said Lizzie Metzger, who lives just west of U.S. 1 and north of Race Track Road. "A lot of people bought their homes in this area because there are no power lines that are visible -- high-voltage or not. There's just no visible power lines, which is aesthetically very nice."

Metzger and others said they are worried about the high-voltage power lines for several reasons, including how much they can enjoy their surroundings. Sergey Tsarenko said it’s about his children. 

"Pretty much we are surrounded by the high-voltage power lines and any direction we go, we have to cross kind of underneath or next to it," he said. "That kind of makes me a bit concerned."

Metzger said she sees JEA's side. 

"I do see their side of the coin. What they're trying to do (is) improve the power and that's all fine and dandy," she said. "I just don't see why that needs to be in my backyard."

According to JEA, the project is scheduled to get underway this spring. Tree and vegetation removal should begin in March, along with final design and survey work.

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