Holmes-Old Mead Road project will boost area electric reliability
DE PERE, Wis. – After years of planning, regulatory review and construction, a 58-mile transmission line has been placed in service between the Holmes Substation in Menominee County and the Old Mead Road Substation in Escanaba, Mich.
The project is designed to help address the unique needs of the electricity supply system in the area. “Putting this new transmission line into service will greatly benefit our customers throughout the region,” said Brett French, ATC external affairs manager. “The project reflects ATC’s commitment to invest in strengthening the U.P.’s electric transmission system.”
The western half of the route shares a corridor with an existing transmission line, and the eastern half is located along an abandoned railroad corridor owned by the state. The state departments of Transportation and Natural Resources played a key role in coordinating the eastern section of the line. ATC built a multipurpose recreational trail in the rail corridor between Hermansville and Wells Township, which will be turned over to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources when completed later this fall.
The authorized cost for the project was $120 million; the project was completed on time and under budget.
Helicopter, air saw to be used along transmission line
MADISON, Wis. A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used beginning next week to trim trees along an existing 138,000-volt transmission line from Baraboo to Spring Green.
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. Since the work is weather-dependent, it could take two weeks for the aerial saw to complete the vegetation maintenance in this area.
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 is available here. Video footage of similar vegetation management work can be found on our YouTube page. This routine vegetation management is not related to the Badger Coulee Project.
Construction work set to begin this summer for area from Town of Caledonia to Wisconsin Dells
MADISON, Wis. – American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy are continuing a multi-year public outreach process for the 180-mile, 345-kilovolt Badger Coulee Project with a pre-construction open house on July 21 in Lake Delton.
“Landowners who may be affected by construction and members of the public are welcome to attend this pre-construction open house,” said Charles Gonzales, ATC senior local relations representative. “This event will provide an opportunity for people to learn what to expect in terms of equipment, timing and appearance of the line,” said Gonzales.
The public is invited to attend the July 21 pre-construction open house from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Kay C. Mackesey Administration Building-Village of Lake Delton, 50 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy South, Lake Delton. There will not be a formal presentation. Construction activities, including right-of-way clearing, placing protective mats and installing foundations, are scheduled to begin this summer.
After more than five years of public involvement and regulatory review, ATC and Xcel Energy received approval in April 2015 from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to construct the $580 million project from north of La Crosse to northern Dane County. The project will address electric system reliability issues locally and in the Midwest, provide economic savings and support renewable energy policy. Work will generally be conducted from east to west with a planned in-service date of 2018.
Note to editors: A project map and additional information is available at www.BadgerCoulee.com.
Program offers communities financial support for planting projects on public property
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. will begin accepting applications on June 1 for its Community Planting Program, which provides financial support for planting projects on public property to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area.
Now in its fourth year, the program is targeted toward communities where ATC transmission facilities exist. Since its inception, ATC has awarded nearly $190,000 to 131 eligible municipalities and counties.
To qualify, communities must commit that all current and future planting plans and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines will comply with ATC’s maintenance standards. “Trees and transmission lines are an unsafe combination,” said Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Applying for funding through the Community Planting Program gives communities across our service area an opportunity to beautify their public space. By planting trees and other vegetation outside of the transmission line rights-of-way, these communities help ATC keep the transmission lines safe and reliable.”
ATC is accepting applications through Sept. 30, and award recipients will be selected and announced by the end of the year. ATC will accept one application per community, and the awards range from $100 to $5,000. The Community Planting Program is part of the Grow Smart initiative, which is directed toward individual landowners and advocates planting low-growing, native vegetation in transmission line rights-of-way. Additional information, including a brochure and eligibility information, is available on ATC’s Grow Smart website at atc-GrowSmart.com.
DEPERE, Wis. – American Transmission Co. has received word of a helicopter crash near the intersection of Marquette Road and Sandy Road near Reedsville, Wis. The helicopter was involved in stringing wire along an ATC transmission line between the Point Beach Nuclear Plant and the Forest Junction Substation.
An internal team has been assembled to respond to the emergency at the scene to support an investigation of the accident.