MACHIAS — Work has begun on the first phase of a long-range plan to consolidate all of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co.’s Washington Division functions at a new headquarters on Route 92 in Machias.
Washington Division Manager Jim Logan said Wednesday that work that began two weeks ago on a new, 3,500-square-foot storage building capped nearly two years of planning and discussions. The building will be the first of several planned on a 9-acre site owned at one time by the former St. Regis Paper Co.
During the past two years, Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. has had to negotiate for the property and pass environmental site inspections by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The last major hurdle was cleared two months ago when the Machias Planning Board issued Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. a building permit during a special meeting.
The single-story, metal-sided building will be about 20 feet high and will be used to store transformers, a live-line trailer and other equipment, Logan said.
“We prefer to store the transformers indoors,” Logan said. The transformers are now left outdoors.
The company also hopes to move the division’s pole yard from its present site along the Machias River near the town’s tennis courts to the new facility. Logan said that long-range plans call for all of the Washington Division’s facilities, including its Lower Court Street business office, to move to the new site.
Logan said his company intends to continue planning for the next phase of the plan in 1992.
Bangor Hydro-ELectric Co. employs 44 people in Washington County. Half of the work force is in the line department, while the remaining 22 are employed in meter, credit and other departments.
Machias Planning Board Chairman Marc Nault said Wednesday that according to the information received by his board, completion of all phases of the project could be at least five years away. The permit approved by the board was for the storage building only.