1. Construction Impacts on Visual Resources (All Alternatives)
Construction impacts on visual resources would result from the presence of equipment, materials, and work force at the substation sites, staging areas, and along the access roads and overhead transmission line route. Construction impacts on visual resources would also result from the temporary alteration of landforms and vegetation along the utility corridor. Vehicles, heavy equipment, helicopters, project components, and workers would be visible during site clearing, grading, substation expansion and construction, structure erection, conductor stringing, cable placement, and site/ROW clean-up and restoration. Construction equipment and activities would be seen by various viewers in close proximity to the sites and utility corridor including adjacent and nearby residents, recreationists on trails and roads, motorists, and pedestrians.
Construction activities would be most visible for those elements of the proposed project through residential neighborhoods and adjacent to major travel corridors. However, project construction is a relatively short-duration (projected timeframe of 14 to 16 months) visual impact, as compared to the permanent structures that would be introduced into the landscape by the proposed project. However, short-term impacts on visual conditions during construction of the proposed project and all of its alternatives would be significant and unavoidable (Class I), even with proposed mitigation measures V-15a through V-15c (see, page A-28 of Attachment A), as there is no mitigation available to make vehicles, heavy equipment, helicopters, and other project components less visible.
Since project construction impacts are essentially similar for the proposed Project and all of the project alternatives, these impacts do not affect the choice of which alternative is environmentally preferable from the standpoint of visual resources.