American Transmission Company (ATC) has proposed to rebuild and reroute portions of an approximately 28-mile, 69-kV transmission line in the southwestern part of Wisconsin.
If the estimated $32m project is approved, construction would begin in June 2017, and the project has an anticipated in-service date of December 2019, the company added in its March 2 statement.
As noted in the company’s application filed with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin, ATC proposes to:
- Rebuild about 25 miles of the 27.6-mile line, referred to as Y124, between the Boscobel substation in the City of Boscobel in Grant County, and the Lone Rock substation in the Town of Buena Vista in Richland County
- Perform spot pole replacements and fiber installation only for the remaining 2.6 miles of existing corridor
- Re-route two segments of the line – about nine miles total – due to existing access and maintenance concerns as well as environmental sensitivities
“The current line was built in the 1950s and is in poor condition,” Jon Callaway, ATC senior local relations representative, said in the statement. “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.”
As noted in a March 8 notification letter to the public from ATC, the company must obtain a certificate of authority from the PSC to build the project, as well as seek permits or consultation from several federal, state and local agencies. ATC added that it has been determined that PSC staff, with the help of other agencies, will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed project.
PSC staff seeks comments on the environmental aspects of the case as it prepares the EA, ATC said, adding that comments from the public should be received by April 8.
The project right of way (ROW) is divided into five segments, ATC said in its application:
- Segment 1 – Boscobel SS to Blue River switch structure (SW STR) rebuild
- Segment 2 – Blue River SW STR to Muscoda SW STR rebuild
- Segment 3 – Muscoda SW STR to Muscoda Industrial SW STR rebuild with fiber installation
- Segment 4 – Muscoda Industrial SW STR to Avoca SW STR rebuild
- Segment 5 – Avoca SW STR to Lone Rock SS rebuild
The proposed route for the Y124 rebuild generally follows the existing line corridor beginning at the Boscobel substation and ending at the Lone Rock substation, with the exception of two segments for which reroutes are proposed to avoid environmentally sensitive or difficult-to-access terrain, ATC said.
Beginning at the Boscobel substation, the line heads in a generally northeast direction parallel to Wisconsin Highway 133 and a Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) railroad for about 6.1 miles to the Blue River switch structure.
The first proposed reroute of the line would remove the line segment, which currently runs along a landslide-prone hillside and through the Blue River wetlands, and reroute the line to continue parallel to the railroad nearly directly east for another 5.3 miles before turning south along Taylor Road for about 0.6 mile and rejoining the existing alignment, ATC added.
The existing alignment continues generally east and then north for about 3.5 miles to the Muscoda switch structure. The line then loops north and east for about 0.3 mile to the Muscoda Industrial switch structure. From the Muscoda industrial park, ATC added, the line continues about 0.7 mile directly east to the second proposed reroute.
The second reroute heads south parallel to Azim Street for about 0.2 mile, and then heads directly east parallel to STH 133 and the WisDOT railroad again for about 2.8 miles before turning north along a DNR access road for about 0.3 mile and rejoining the existing alignment, which continues for about 0.6 mile east to the Avoca switch structure, the company said.
From the Avoca switch, the line heads north for about 1.6 miles across the Wisconsin River, then turns east for about 3.5 miles through Gotham and southeast for about 2.8 miles where it joins up with the 69-kV Lone Rock SS to Richland Center SS line. The final 1.5 miles to Lone Rock SS is double-circuited with the Y-78 69-kV transmission line, ATC added.
The company also discussed rare species and natural communities, noting that four state-listed and four federally listed species may be impacted by the project. Certain actions may be required, including:
- Complete avoidance during the nesting seasons of May 25-Aug. 15 and/or April 16-Aug.15 of state-listed bird species for portions of the project
- Conducting work outside of adult flight period – July – in areas of suitable habitat of state- and federally listed aquatic insect species
- Clearing suitable habitat – trees – outside of the breeding season from June 1-July 31 of federally listed bat species
ATC said it will continue to evaluate whether recommended actions identified through the endangered resources review process will be implemented.
Among other things, the company discussed parks and recreation areas, noting that the Pine River Trail, owned and maintained by Richland County, was built on an abandoned railroad ROW and shares a corridor with Segment 5 of the project’s centerline. The trail is used for hiking, biking and snowmobiling when the weather permits. Any impacts to the trail will be temporary during construction, ATC added, noting that there are no other impacts to parks or recreational parks/areas.