Recently, PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (PPL) awarded a contract of over $70 million to Valmont Industries Inc. for the Susquehanna-Roseland power line. The contract is expected to create more than 50 new jobs and pump millions of dollars into the regional economy.

Valmont on the Project

Valmont Industries Inc., with plants in Hazleton and West Hazleton, will design and manufacture the steel poles for the 101-mile Pennsylvania segment of the line. Valmont officials said that the contract will lead to a significant boost for the two manufacturing facilities.

For the project, Valmont plans to add highly skilled and well-paid jobs to its local work force. Management pointed out that the contract is significant both in terms of the new jobs and in terms of what it means for the company’s long-term prospects as a solid employer in the region.

PPL’s Take on the Project

PPL’s management said that the Susquehanna-Roseland power line is needed for regional electric service reliability. The aim is to prevent overloads on other regional power lines, making it less likely that a problem with one power line would lead to a regional blackout, such as the one that affected millions of people in August 2003.

Management also said that the line will provide economic stimulus at a time when the region really needs it.

Approvals and Other Developments

The timing of the new jobs and economic benefits for the region depends on the timing of construction. PPL’s management outlined that the major approvals for the project have already been received from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Additional approval is needed from the National Park Service, which said its environmental review could take until early 2012.

The regional economic benefits of the Valmont Industries contract are in addition to the benefits expected from construction of the Susquehanna-Roseland line. Construction will create 165 to 330 jobs, resulting in a positive economic impact to the region of $100 million for the three-year period, according to an economic impact study by Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development Initiative Team.

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