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ITC proposes rebuild of transmission line at public meeting

April 4, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

ITC Midwest (ITC), the area electric transmission company, proposed on Thursday during a public meeting to rebuild an existing 161 kV transmission line from the northeast corner of Dysart to their substation southwest of Traer, with part of the proposed line being built along a new route.

Landowners within a "defined distance" of the proposed project were mailed invitations to the public meeting at the North Tama Activity Center in Traer, where ITC as well as representatives from their partners and the Iowa Utilities Board presented information on the project as required by Iowa law. The rebuild will consist of 12.1 miles of this 161 kV line in Tama and Benton Counties, using tubular steel poles for the new line. According to ITC, five miles in Tama County will also be double circuited with an existing 34.5kV transmission line that will be rebuilt to be capable of operating at 69 kV.

"This line build is part of ITC Midwest's continuing efforts to improve reliability of the electric transmission system and to serve the growing needs of customers in the region," ITC officials presented. "The line is a key route to move electricity in the area. Given its age, the existing line has had performance issues and needs to be upgraded. The new line will improve efficiency, reduce transmission outages, increase the system's capacity, and provide additional back-up capability during planned and unplanned outages."

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According to ITC, the new line will involve "relocating approximately eight miles of line out of difficult to access private rights-of-way and place it along a county road... This route also follows the existing 34.5 kV line that will be combined with the 161 kV to create a 161 kV/69 kV double-circuit configuration for approximately 4.5 miles of the new line."

In order to make this work possible, ITC stated they have reviewed possible routes near roads, active railroads, along divisions of land and "create minimal impacts on current land use" based off requirements by the Iowa Code. The final route will be determined after negotiations with landowners on the route as easements will be required for access to the land. Landowners will receive phone calls from JCG Land Services to negotiate easements for the line. Not everyone who received a letter will be contacted for an easement.

ITC will base its easement compensation fee value reported by Iowa State University (Tama County $7,510/acre), the size of the and the type of easement required. Full Transmission Line easements has the poles and conductors on the property "adjacent to the public road right-of-way or on a cross country route." An Overhang easement has the poles along property lines, yet conductors "may overhang adjacent property." No permanent facilities would be built in easement area.

A timeline proposed by ITC is to have easements acquisition completed by late August of this year, after filing a franchise request with the Iowa Utilities Board on April 29 as required by law. A regulatory review by the board will take place from April to December of 2019. If approved, construction will take place in 2020. Marlon Vogt, Project Manager, did not forsee any need to close roads for the construction.

"Typically for a project such as this, we would have traffic flaggers, cones and signage out to direct traffic," Vogt said. "A truck may be on the road, but otherwise there should not be any road closures for this project."

Regarding safety, ITC stated the new transmission line will be designed "to meet and even exceed the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), the nationally-recognized safety standard in the United States...This code requires construction to withstand extreme weather conditions. ITC, as the line owner, will make sure that the line is clear of trees and other vegetation that could cause the line to fall and put the public in harm's way."

The public meeting was informational purposes only and not a forum to address individual issues with the transmission line project. ITC officials made themselves available afterwards for individual questions/concerns or to contact for the appropriate answers. For questions regarding the project, contact ITC using their toll-free customer line at 1-877-482-4829. Check back with the Traer Star-Clipper for more information on the project in future issues.



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