Construction fencing and piping material appeared this week on a large empty lot on the Black Horse Pike in Turnersville across from Lowes and Target, directly next to the Salvation Army Building.
The address recognized by Google Maps is 3900 Black Horse Pike, Turnersville, NJ 08012.
I drove by mid-week and even I was surprised to see very tell tale signs that something was going to be built there!
This property has been marketed for years a a potential large commercial development so I keep a close eye on it. But I didn’t recall any development approvals at all for the property,
And since it was mid-week during the day I was able to head right over to the Washington Township municipal building where I caught up with some folks in the Planning and Zoning office who were incredibly helpful answering my questions.
So I had my drone with me and looped back around to get some photos which I share here.
Note: In this post I also overview the AC Electrical upgrades coming to the area and the substation rebuild on Hurffville-Grenloch Rd
Property: The Shoppes at Turnersville
The property in question has been targeted for years to become The Shoppes at Turnersville.
At one time LIDL was interested in building there but they have long moved on from those plans. Retail Sites company is still planning on developing into a commercial property once they have a the proper mix of tenants (Website)
Temporary Staging Area For AC Electric Area Upgrades
So yea I am teasing a bit with this one. Well hell I see all my “competition” doing the same thing… headlines about new businesses or bad crimes but not mentioning in the title the town so you have to click to find out!
Anyway… there is no construction taking place at the site. There are no planning or zoning approvals.
This is a temporary staging area used for a large Atlantic City Electric upgrade program taking place in South Jersey,
The large pipes on the property are actually the new style of electric line poles that we see popping up around South Jersey.
Both Atlantic City Electric and PSEG are doing large infrastructure upgrades in power lines and substations.
Some of the existing infrastructure in South Jersey is 50 years old!
If you are as old as I am you remember what life was like 50 years ago without the electrical/battery products we have today.
Not to turn this into a Gen-X TikTok video but life (and electrical usage) was significantly simpler 40-50 years ago when a lot of the electrical infrastructure was last upgraded.
Consider there were no electric cars, computers, smartphones or other gadgets. Well I did have Merlin as a kid (Wikipedia). Those 11 red LEDs didn’t draw much power! ha!
Even Solar Panels today are an impact on the grid as the generated power is actually pushed back into the system which wasn’t really designed for that 40 years ago.
So not only is our electrical grid old and outdated, the demands on it are exponentially higher.
We all remember the February 2021 power crisis in Texas which cut power for days for up to 4.5 million people and lead to 100s of deaths! Sure it was impacted by freakish winter weather for Texas, but a big part of that was a very outdated electrical grid infrastructure.
Power suppliers around the country are upgrading infrastructure for our new electrical dependent world.
Earlier this year I wrote a post on a PSEG substation upgrade project in Hilltop section of Gloucester Township. That is a large project driven by all of the same considerations.
And Atlantic City Electric has similar plans in play.
Atlantic City Electric Gloucester / Camden Counties Reliability Project
AC Electric is upgrading larger supply lines to those taller and higher capacity line systems.
The call this the Greater Gloucester and Camden Counties Reliability Project. The link includes a PDF with a lot more detail on the project as well as where the power lines are being upraded.
They are also upgrading (rebuilding) some of the substations in the area (read on)
While they are using the Black Horse Pike property as a staging area, there are no powerlines for that immediate location. It was simply the closest somewhat paved empty area that they could get a temporary lease signed for it.
This won’t be an exhaustive overview but here are the highlights from AC Electric documentation on the pole upgrades:
- Rebuilding 10 miles of critical transmission line using stronger utility poles and modern equipment between Monroe Township and Pine Hill.
- To minimize potential impacts to the community, a portion of the route will be moved so it travels through fewer residential neighborhoods.
- On average, the new poles will range from 65 to 80 feet tall.
- Similar poles have been installed in other South Jersey communities, including Avalon, Stone Harbor, Monroe Township, Woodstown, and Winslow Township.
Washington Township Hurffville-Grenloch Substation Replacement
The existing substation on Hurrfville-Grenloch Rd (at Woodbury-Turnersville Rd) has been in place for decades and has equipment dating back to the 1970s!
A few years ago AC Electric was approved to rebuild and expand the substation so that consistent and safe electricity can continue to be supplied to the 12,000 customers it supports in Washington Township (with some in Gloucester Township).
This portion of the upgrades is called the WASHINGTON/GLOUCESTER RELIABILITY PROJECT. This link is a PDF with more information on the project.
During the approval process AC Electric held two open houses with the community in the area to explain the project and gain feedback.
The current substation utilizes about a third of the existing property, and with the replacement project most of the lot will be utilized.
The project was scheduled to have been completed by now, but impacts from the Covid pandemic delayed it a few years. They have since update the construction timeline.
It will be built on our expanded property at the same location. Project construction is expected to start in spring 2023 and be completed by spring 2025.Atlantic City Electric Updated Timeline of the Washington Township Substation Upgrades.
AC Electric has put together a 3D rendered video of the substation rebuild project on YouTube.