Central Maine Power Co. marked a key milestone in its Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP) last month. Crews set the project’s 1,000th transmission structure in a corridor just north of River Road in Leeds on Jan. 3. An estimated 5,000 wooden structures are expected to be set by the time the project is completed.

“The crews took great pride in being a part of this important milestone,” said Doug Herling, vice president of Special Projects at CMP. “This project to strengthen our grid is running on schedule, has a great safety record, and is giving Maine’s economy a much needed boost.”

The MPRP is the largest construction project ever undertaken in Maine. Begun in September of 2010, the project includes the construction of five new 345-kV substations and related facilities linked by approximately 440 miles of new transmission lines. The lines run through 75 cities and towns from Eliot to Orrington in 13 of Maine’s 16 counties, providing reinforcement for the company’s 40-year-old system and creating greater capacity for the integration of new generation in the New England region.

CMP estimates that it employs a workforce of more than 2,000 people directly in the construction. A 2009 study of the economic impacts of the project by the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine estimated that the project was likely to spur as many as 800 more jobs in indirect employment. Signs of these indirect benefits have spread quickly to communities along the transmission route as local businesses began catering to the workers preparing transmission corridors for construction.

The company expects to complete the project by mid-2015.