Credit the Bangor Arena for the recent utility upgrades taking place along Buck and Main streets in Bangor.

Construction has continued all winter on the new Arena, slated to open in September 2013. In early Feb-ruary, six Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. line workers started replacing poles adjacent to the Arena site, and according to retired Bangor city engineer Jim Ring, the upgrade affects the Arena and the Bangor Daily News.

Charged with overseeing “the Arena project for the city [of Bangor],” Ring said that “when you have a large [construction] project and a large electrical load” like the Arena will draw, “there has to be upgrades to the electrical system.

“This was an anticipated cost” for the Arena project, he said.

Similar upgrades have occurred recently in Bangor, Ring indicated. An electrical upgrade for Hollywood Casino saw BHE crews rebuild “a large section of the pole line coming in from the Hampden direction,” with the line work “stopping just before [the] Irving [station]” at Dutton Street, he said. “They did under-ground work” from there.

“We’ve had to do the same sort of thing when we did improvements … at the waterfront,” Ring said.

“When an upgrade is needed, the utility company by state statute can recover the incremental costs” of the project, he said.

According to BHE Communications Director Susan Faloon, the BHE crews installed five new utility poles on Main Street and two on Buck Street. The Main Street poles are taller than the existing poles to “re-duce the visual impact of the utility lines,” which will rise “above a normal sight line,” Ring said.

“This improves the appearance of the Arena from Main Street,” he said. ‘It gives it a cleaner look over all because of the type of installation.”

He referred to the unusual poles set between Paul Bunyan and Buck Street. Although their color suggests metal, Faloon said that’s not the case.

“They are using several fiberglass poles, not metal, as they wanted to try out this new type of pole for fu-ture use,” she explained. “These poles are more aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly and generally last longer.

“The new poles are being installed because they needed added height to accommodate the Arena needs,” Faloon said.

“The Hydro was really good with working with us on cleaning up the lines,” Ring said.

Along Buck Street, four utility poles will be removed between the traffic lights and the new poles set across from the BDN’s upper parking lot. FairPoint Communications will “set one pole on Buck Street just north of the two poles that we set,” Faloon said.

Utility crews will “install underground conduit [on Buck Street] to connect with a conduit that is already in place,” Ring said. Power lines will run through the conduit, which will “go over to the new poles so the power can come in from the new overhead system to the new building,” he said.

This part of the project will involve “modifications to the Bangor Daily’s electrical service,” Ring said.

The work is ongoing, “at this time, we do not have a completion date for the project,” Faloon said.