Saturday, July 11, 2015

Downtown Power Lines

Putting the utility lines underground in downtown Carbondale is a good idea from both an aesthetic and a practical viewpoint as underground lines are much less likely to break, especially if a tree falls on them.

The primary argument against them is the cost of installation. Installing power lines underground costs anywhere from 4 to 14 times as much as comparable installation of above ground lines. According to the linked article, an above ground power line costs approximately $390,000 per mile to install, compared to $2 million per mile for an underground line.


  1. The costs you cite are waaaaaaaay off. The above costs are for large high capacity/high-voltage lines such as the one that runs over IL 13 between Buffalo Wild Wings and Hampton Inn.

    Typical under grounding costs about $20-$40 per foot so about $200,000 per mile.

    But urban areas are clearly more and with 51 being a state road, higher traffic, downtown C'dale, etc i would guess its easily double that. And thats only the electric.

    It would clearly be relatively expensive but not $2 million a mile. I would guess the entire project would be about $2 million inlcluding new sidewalks, landscaping, light posts and other beautification.

    Can you image what electricity would cost if an average power line costs $390,000 per mile??

  2. Thanks for the clarification.