PSE Energize Eastside Project

PSE Energize Eastside Project

Many people have seen the signs on 132nd Ave NE at NE 60th St near the park for Puget Sound Energy’s project to upgrade its transmission capability on the Eastside. The project is entering a new phase with the initiation of a 2-year public process for an Environmental Impact Statement being led by the City of Bellevue. PSE completed a year-long process with a Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) in December of 2014, which recommended a route for 230 KV lines (with taller poles than now exist), mostly along the existing transmission line right-of-way that runs north and south where 136th Ave NE would be. The CAG rejected a route for the 230 KV Lines along 116th Ave, adjacent to the park. Bellevue is essentially starting over, so routes that pose risks to the park are still in play.

This project is of concern for Bridle Trails State Park because of the possibility that transmission lines could be constructed along one or more sides of the park, resulting in significant impacts. Those impacts include losing many trees, losing some trails, and adverse impacts to several wetlands. The process initiated by Bellevue is in two phases. The current Phase One, lasting about one year, will be a programmatic (high-level) look at alternatives and their potential impacts. Alternatives that could impact the park include a route for the 230 KV lines along 116th Ave NE (such as the one rejected by the CAG) and Alternative 3. Alternative 3 would forego about 18 miles of 230 KV lines for some new transformers and about 50 miles of 115 KV lines through many neighborhoods. One of the 115 KV line routes would run along in west side of the park on the east side of 116th Ave NE and along the north side of the park on the south side of NE 60th St.

Phase Two, also lasting about one year, will be an examination of the impacts of alternatives still under review at the project-specific level for specific locations and specific structures. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is planned for spring 2017, after which PSE would have to apply for Conditional Use Permits in Bellevue and other affected cities, including Kirkland. PSE can advance whatever solution it deems best after the public process, regardless of the Bellevue process, as long as it meets legal constraints, which would likely include mitigation for its project required by the affected cities.

There will be various opportunities for public comment, with one closing June 15, 2015, at 5 PM. For information on the EIS process, go to For a description of the alternatives for Phase One and the scoping process, go to The Bridle Trails Park Foundation will be tracking the project and commenting when the opportunity arises.