A line disappears from the villages
Take a look at the southern slope of the Grimsel Pass down to Goms and you will see something that definitely was not there before. The new extra-high-voltage line is a new landmark along the southern slope. The 380-kilovolt line stretches across 57 pylons, from Ernen to Ulrichen. But the trip through the picturesque villages in Goms reveals even more. Something that has been a fixed part of the scenery in the villages for decades has disappeared: the old line. Electricity has been flowing through the new extra-high-voltage line on the section between Ernen and Ulrichen since October 2019. This year, the focus is on dismantling the old line. The benefits of the removal are particularly apparent in places where the line crossed overhead, such as on hiking paths or cross-country ski trails. But the landscape on the valley floor will also be enhanced. And with the demolition of the old line, the camping site in Reckingen will no longer be divided.
What is it like without a line in the village?
Gerhard Kiechler: You get used to the new scene quite quickly and it is already hard to imagine what it was like when the line was still here.
The line is gradually disappearing from the villages. Have you received feedback from the locals?
The line has long since ceased to be an issue in local circles. It barely rates a mention, even the dismantling has not caused much of a stir. In general, good news tends to be quieter than bad news.
Why is that? After all, isn’t the new line visible for miles around.
I always said, wait five years and the scars in nature will have disappeared. This year the forest has already grown slightly again. But the most important thing is that the old lines are being removed. The people who lived under the line are delighted that the line is gone.
One episode illustrates this clearly. In Reckingen, citizens launched a petition that called on the local council to withdraw the objection against the new line. Even those petitioning were aware that, «while it is certainly not pretty» at least the new line will be built much further away from the villages.