American Transmission Company (ATC) on Feb. 19 energized the 32-mile 345-kV Rockdale to West Middleton line, four months ahead of schedule, a company spokesperson told TransmissionHub March 11.
The company had indicated in May 2012 that it expected to complete the project in early 2013. The project originally was scheduled to come into service this summer.
Construction and precertification costs to date come to $152m, about 30% under the $219m budget set by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the spokesperson said. The final project cost will not be known until the end of 2013, when ATC is able to calculate costs for restoration along the right-of-way, the spokesperson added.
The project’s accelerated timeline was facilitated by better winter weather than anticipated, the spokesperson said.
“Obviously in Wisconsin, our winters are typically very cold and there can be quite a bit of precipitation,” the spokesperson said. “Throughout the project we had very good weather,” which helped facilitate the construction process.
The Rockdale to West Middleton line, which comprises four segments, bolsters electric reliability for the Dane County area, connecting eastern and western Dane County, the spokesperson said.
The company worked with nine municipalities and 179 landowners, and was able to receive 97% of easements along the line’s route, according to a statement released on the project. The line crosses 30 waterways and 5.6 miles of wetlands, but contributed to the loss of only 0.054 wetland acres, ATC said.
The line can carry 1,267 MW of electricity, and utilizes five different kinds of poles and a variety of conductor configurations “in order to ‘thread the needle’ through a congested urban area,” the company said. The line runs from the town of Christiana, through the city of Madison and ends in West Middleton.
Contractors on the project included MJ Electric and Tri-State Drilling for construction; Sargent & Lundy, GEI Consultants and Power Engineers for engineering; Stantec for environmental monitoring; AECOM Technology for surveying; and Asplundh Tree Expert for vegetation management.