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PSC approves project to rebuild transmission line in Boscobel, Lone Rock areas

Work will improve aging infrastructure, enhance local electric reliability

MADISON, WIS. – American Transmission Co. today received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to rebuild and reroute portions of an approximately 28-mile, 69,000-volt transmission line from Boscobel to Lone Rock, Wisconsin.

The project will involve:

  • Rebuilding approximately 25 miles of a 27.6-mile line between the Boscobel and Lone Rock substations,
  • Replacing poles and communications fiber in select areas of the remaining 2.6 miles of line; and
  • Rerouting two segments of the line (approximately 9 miles) due to existing access and maintenance concerns and environmental sensitivities.

Existing wood structures will be replaced with weathering steel structures. The line will consist of primarily single-pole structures ranging in height from 60 to 95 feet. A small portion of the line near the Wisconsin River will include H-frame structures.

“The current line was built in the 1950s and is in poor condition,” said Jon Callaway, ATC senior local relations representative. “Rebuilding the line and replacing poles will help ensure electric reliability in the area. Additionally, rerouting two segments of the line will improve access for maintenance and reduce environmental impacts.”

Construction of the approximately $32 million project is expected to start in summer 2017 with an anticipated in-service date of December 2019.

Additional project details are available on the PSC website under Docket No. 137-CE-181.

Mount Calvary, Wis. woman wins $5,000 in landscaping from ATC’s Grow Smart® Sweepstakes

Media note: Members of the media are invited to the final phase of the landscaping work on Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Maggie and Steve McCullough, as well as nationally known horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers, will be available for interviews. Please contact Jackie Olson at 877-506-6117 for additional details and the address.

PEWAUKEE, WIS. — When Maggie McCullough of Mount Calvary, Wis., first learned about the possibility of winning $5,000 worth of landscaping through American Transmission Co.’s Grow Smart® Sweepstakes, she didn’t think about winning; she entered to get a free garden kneeling pad that was offered for each household’s entry. “I never thought we’d actually win,” she said. But McCullough was the lucky winner, and now an entire new area of landscaping is being installed at the Mount Calvary home she shares with her husband, Steve.

ATC held the Grow Smart Sweepstakes as a way to continue educating the public about its Grow Smart program. The program helps property owners and communities identify low-growing, beautiful vegetation that can be planted the smart way – a safe distance from transmission line rights-of-way.

The sweepstakes targeted property owners who have an ATC easement, and who also had vegetation management work performed by ATC on their property in 2015. Eligible households were notified through a postcard mailing earlier this year that they could enter to win $5,000 in landscaping for their property, as well as a two-hour personal consultation with horticulturist and gardening expert Melinda Myers to discuss ideas and visions for what could be done with the landscape (including compatible, low-growing species and other Grow Smart options).The winner was drawn at random from more than 65 entries.

“We are delighted that Maggie and Steve are the winners,” said Anne Spaltholz, ATC’s director of Corporate Communications. “We have learned that they both love gardening and landscaping, and have worked for years to make their property beautiful and natural, reflecting the nature that’s around them.”

This summer, the McCulloughs met with Myers and representatives from Stuart’s Landscaping and Garden Center of Fond du Lac to discuss best practices and Grow Smart compatible plantings for their yard. The McCulloughs chose to landscape an area close to their house that is common to many homes: a steep incline with an exposed, walkout basement. But they also wanted to make sure the landscaping was complementary to other areas on their property.

Maggie McCullough explains, “We have 38 acres of land with a river, wetlands, a hill and woods. Around the house we’ve done a lot of naturalizing with perennials. We’ve tried to create a really good environment for the wildlife around here. In addition to the more formal perennial beds that are around the house, we also have two prairies on our land; one of which is actually underneath the power lines. It’s in keeping with ATC’s philosophy of using the low-growing perennial plants and flowers. They’ll never get tall enough to create any problems with the power lines.”

Stuart’s Landscaping developed a landscape plan for the McCulloughs that features terracing and native vegetation similar to that in the established prairie on their property. The landscaping work will take place (weather permitting) at the McCullough’s home on Sept. 14 and 15, 2016.

“The McCulloughs are really modeling what Grow Smart is all about,” added Myers. “Investing time up front to create an appropriate and beautiful landscape pays off with years of beauty and less ongoing maintenance. On behalf of the Grow Smart program, we congratulate them.”

To learn more about ATC’s Grow Smart program, go to: www.atc-GrowSmart.com.

American Transmission Co. files application with Illinois Commerce Commission for new transmission line and substation

Project will provide electric reliability to southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. today filed an application with the Illinois Commerce Commission seeking approval for the Wisconsin-Illinois Electric Reliability Project.

Components of this project include: constructing a double-circuit, 345,000-volt transmission line to connect to an existing line in southern Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and connecting that line to the ComEd transmission system in Illinois through a proposed substation on the north side of Rosecrans Road (Hwy. 173) in the Village of Wadsworth.

The 3- to 5-mile transmission line would provide a reliable, alternative power path to address the potential risk of cascading outages under certain operating conditions, and also would accommodate the increasing power flows occurring from Wisconsin to Illinois.

“The ICC will conduct a comprehensive review of ATC’s application for the transmission line and substation, including the two proposed route options,” said Barbara Mikolajczyk, ATC project manager. “The regulatory review process in Illinois also includes technical and public hearings anticipated in early 2017, with a final decision expected in spring 2017. The ICC will notify local residents and businesses of the dates and times of the hearings, which provide the public an opportunity to make their concerns known to the decision makers.”

ATC also is required to file an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for the northern portion of the proposed transmission line. That filing is anticipated to occur in November 2016.

The project is estimated to cost $55 million to $66 million. If approved, construction would begin in spring 2020 to meet an in-service date later that same year. Additional information, including the application, can be found on the ICC’s website.

Note to editors: A map of the project can be found here and additional information about ATC and our projects can be found at: atc-projects.com.

Crews to use light-duty helicopter for Badger Coulee Project

Work slated to begin this week from Town of Middleton to Town of Vienna

MADISON, Wis. – A helicopter will be used beginning this week to assist construction crews with work along Segment 1 of the Badger Coulee Project.

Helicopter crews will begin pulling wires along the line beginning this week. The route generally follows the existing 138,000-volt line in this area.

“Residents can expect to see a light-duty helicopter flying approximately 100 feet above the ground along the line,” said Charles Gonzales, ATC senior local relations representative.

Use of helicopters will decrease construction time and minimize environmental impacts to the area. The flight schedule will vary and is subject to change based on weather.

Construction activities on this segment began earlier this year and are expected to conclude in spring 2017. Right-of-way restoration work in this area is scheduled to be completed in summer 2017.

Note to editors: A map of Construction Segment 1 can be found here.

Aerial tree trimming planned for western Wisconsin

Helicopter, air saw to be used along transmission line

MADISON, Wis. – A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used beginning this week to trim trees along two existing 138,000-volt transmission lines from Montfort to Cassville and Cassville to Platteville.

American Transmission Co. has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc. to manage vegetation growth along its transmission line corridors. The helicopters used by Aerial Solutions are equipped with heavy-duty air saws and rotary blades, suspended on a 90- to 100-foot vertical boom.

When compared to the work of ground-based crews, the aerial saw has been highly efficient. “Typically it takes ground crews several days to accomplish what an aerial saw crew can in a few hours,” said Joe Benzschawel, ATC vegetation management specialist. “It could take two weeks for the aerial saw to complete work in this area since flight schedules are weather-dependent.”

Managing the growth of trees and other vegetation near high-voltage transmission lines is important to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine vegetation management on its 9,540 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.

Note to editors: A map indicating the planned aerial saw work can be found here. Video footage of similar vegetation management work can be found on our YouTube page. This routine vegetation management is not related to the proposed Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project.

 

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