Lockhouse 8 Electric
The Potomac Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, will re-establish overhead electric service to Lockhouse 8. The lockhouse, through the partnership, serves as The Potomac Conservancy's River Education Center.
The lockhouse has been undergoing historic preservation, through the partnership. The lockhouse has been preserved to its early 1900's appearance, based on historic photographs and historic documentation/drawings. Electric service was in place for the lockhouse existed at that time.
In preparation for this project, other power alternatives have been explored.
• Solar power - a high degree of visual intrusion into the historic and cultural scene of the lockhouse and its surroundings. Wind power was not seen as a potential option.
• Hydropower - due to fluctuations in the level of the canal's water, this was viewed as unreliable. Location of a hydro generator in the Potomac River was not explored.
• Underground conduit - most expensive option and the most invasive with potential natural and cultural impacts.
• Overhead wiring - most feasible. Historic precedent had overhead service to the lockhouse, meets the historic scene of the lockhouse in the early 1900s. Several overhead routes were investigated as historically several routes had existed through the course of time. 1)Crossing of Clara Barton Parkway - This was eliminated due to no overhead lines currently exist across the parkway and this proposal would be too costly for underground installation. 2)Crest of the hillside between the parkway and the canal, through the woods from 79th Street to the lockhouse. This route was seen as invasive as the right of way would need vegetation maintenance and a wide swath of trees would need to be permanently removed.
• PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE - from the end of 79th Street, along the park access road and then along the base of the hillside over to the lockhouse. Poles from the previous service are still in place but are not salvageable.
The one difference with the proposed alignment is to locate the transformer away from the lockhouse. This will require a larger pole at the bottom of the service road. In order to accommodate the larger pole, the alignment of the section between 79th Street and the transformer pole will need to be on the opposite side of the access road from the former alignment. This will allow the power company easier access for repairs and maintenance as they will not need to cross the small stream to access the former alignment.
The project is expected to be under construction during Fall 2006.
The National Park Service's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.13 – Upgrading or adding new overhead utility facilities on existing poles, or on replacement poles that do not change existing pole line configurations.
The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Exclusions #IV.B 8 – placement, maintenance, or replacement of utility lines, transmission lines, and fences within previously disturbed areas, and; #IV.B 9 – Rehabilitation work limited to actions for retaining and preserving, protecting and maintaining, and repairing and replacing in kind materials and features, consistent with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and the accompanying guidelines.
For further information about this project, please contact Compliance Officer, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.