AEP Ohio Transmission Company (AEP Ohio Transco) on May 29 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) an application for amendment to the certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the Barnesville-Summerfield 138-kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
As noted in the filing, AEP Ohio Transco previously submitted a certificate application to the OPSB for the project in a separate proceeding, and the OPSB issued its certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the preferred route in February 2017.
The company said that detailed engineering and property owner negotiations resulted in 13 areas of change to the OPSB-approved route, with those changes comprising three categories:
- Seven engineering adjustments
- Five shifts to rebuild on existing centerline rather than offset, or to the other side of the existing centerline within the existing right of way (ROW)
- A reroute that deviates from the existing or initially proposed ROW
Seven engineering adjustments totaling 2.3 miles were necessary along the OPSB-approved route, the company said, adding that those adjustments are the result of detailed structure placement and engineering through review and modeling of terrain, surveyed property lines and road ROW, as well as structure and conductor clearances. Proposed structure locations along the sections considered “engineering adjustments” are between zero and 75 feet from the OPSB-approved centerline, the company said.
For instance, “Engineering Adjustment 1” occurs between Structures 11 and 15. The company added that the original centerline conflicted with a natural gas pipeline ROW. The newly proposed alignment shifts the OPSB-approved alignment further south at Structure 11 with a maximum adjustment of about 75 feet from the OPSB-approved centerline. The company also said that the remainder of the newly proposed alignment from about Structure 12 through Structure 15 shifts the OPSB-approved alignment north. That shift pushes the newly proposed alignment closer to the residences along Sycamore Street. However, the company added, no buildings are mapped within the 100-foot ROW. No additional environmental or landowner impacts are expected due to Engineering Adjustment 1.
Discussing the five shifts proposed within the existing ROW, the company said that those shifts total to 3.1 miles and are the result of either feedback from affected landowners or optimizing the use of AEP Ohio Transco’s existing land rights. “Shift 1,” for instance, moves the route to an offset position from the existing line consistent with adjacent sections of the centerline between Structures 22 and 26. At the time of submission of the original application, the property owner within that area had suggested that AEP Ohio Transco rebuild on existing centerline, the company said, adding that since then, a new easement has been secured through coordination with the property owner that will allow for construction clear of the existing centerline.
The company said that building offset from the existing centerline, it is able to improve safety during construction by building clear of the existing line. Shift 1 would potentially result in about 0.9 acre of additional tree clearing on the south side of the amended route, which lies outside of the existing centerline ROW. The company also said that no additional environmental or landowner impacts are scheduled due to Shift 1.
Of the proposed reroute, the company said that one reroute of the OPSB-approved route between Structures 50 and 57 was necessary to reduce wetland impacts while continuing to accommodate property owners. The company said that it negotiated the placement of the centerline at the edge of the wetland with most poles placed in upland areas. The centerline was shifted to decrease the amount of disturbance to the wetlands, the company said.
The amended preferred route parallels the existing Barnesville-Summerfield 69-kV line for the majority of its 15.6-mile length (down from the 15.8-mile preferred route), the company said.
AEP Ohio Transco said that it started project construction in March 2017, and that the project has an estimated in-service date around February 2020.