Auburn Hosted Jan. 29 Session Midwest Transmission Project Participants Pleased With Response to Second Round of Open Houses
Tuesday, Jan. 29, brought Southeast Nebraskans to the Wellness Center of Nemaha County to review and comment on a network of preliminary routes for the Midwest Transmission Project. The project is a planned 345 kilovolt electric power transmission line from Sibley, Mo. to south of Nebraska City.
Residents gathered information and spoke directly with project planners. The Auburn open house was the fifth of sixth in the second round of public open houses. The third and final round of open houses are set for later this year.
The project’s study area includes Nemaha, Otoe and Richardson counties in Nebraska; and Atchison and Holt counties in Missouri.
Open Houses Well-Attended
An average of about 200 persons attended the six open houses, said Bill Musgrave, media coordinator, Midwest Transmission Project.
“It’s exactly what we hoped for. It’s a great response, because input from individuals and landowners is why we’re doing this. Our goal is to be as non-disruptive as possible and to find the least disruptive route. Getting information from landowners is the best way to do that,” Musgrave said.
Musgrave said letters were sent to about 5,000 landowners who are within 1,000 feet of any potential route inviting them to the open houses.
“We’re asking landowners to fill out a questionnaire and comment sheet. We’ll collect the information and feed it into a data base. If they have other questions about what the lines will look like or related to real estate, they can ask people about that,” he said.
Project planners will respond the best they can to all of the concerns, Musgrave said.
“We accomplished what we’ve set out to accomplish, to give affected residents the opportunity to inform themselves and give input on how a potential routre might affect their property,” he said.
“We’ve been pleased so far with the response. We’ve seen a high level of interest in people knowing about the project and how it will impact them. We’ve got a lot of information and a lot of good feedback. It will help us select the best route,” said Mike Jones, senior media specialist, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD).
The Midwest Transmission Project is a partnership between OPPD and Kansas City Power & Light.
Second of Three Phases
The project is in its second phase, the preliminary route network phase. Route analysis, planned for this spring, will complete that phase. The third phase, the final route options phase, includes advisory group meetings and the final round of public open houses later this year. Selection of the final route of the project is scheduled for this summer.
Environmental permits completion is set for the winter of 2014. Construction is scheduled to start in the summer of 2015. The estimated in-service date of the project is the summer of 2017.
Progress Since Last August’s Open Houses
Musgrave presented updated information on the project since the study area phase, which concluded with the first round of open houses last August.
Planning teams met with a range of county, state and federal officials to learn about conservation areas, wetlands, community master lands and public lands, “all the areas of interest throughout the planning area,” he said.
“They’ve looked at county planning maps. With this information, they’ve come up with a network of potential routes,” Musgrave said.
The Southeast Nebraska portion of the study route includes several wildlife management areas and state recreation areas.
Two Types of Poles Planned for Project
Based on location and geography, the construction of the project will consist primarily of two types of poles:
–H-frame: long spans, more than 1,000 feet; pole heights, 60 to 100 feet; easement width, 100 to 160 feet and the pole is directly buried in the ground.
–Single pole: shorter spans, 700 to 1,000 feet; pole heights, 90 to 150 feet; easement width, 90 to 110 feet and the pole is directly buried in the ground or built on pier foundations.
More About the Project
The project is a regional reliability project supporting the growth and the use of electricity in the Midwest. It will reduce congestions on the region’s transmission system and provide additional transmission capacity needed for the long-term, efficient delivery of energy to the utilities’ customers and the region. The project is also an alternate route for electricity during emergencies. It provides greater service reliability for all electric utility customers across eastern Nebraska, northwest Missouri and throughout the surrounding region. The project may also provide future access to affordable renewable power for all electric utility customers across the region and to the national system.