American Electric Power’s Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) on April 17 said that it plans to invest about $51m to upgrade the electric transmission network serving customers in northeastern DeKalb County, Ind., through its Hamilton-Butler Area Improvements Project.
The project involves building about eight miles of new power line traveling east from Hamilton to County Road (CR) 77, south to CR 16, and west to CR 75, and then following the railroad tracks into Butler; rebuilding about eight miles of line in the company’s existing right of way (ROW) located just east of CR 61 between Butler and Hamilton; and rebuilding the Butler substation located near the intersection of South Federal Avenue and Walnut Street in Butler.
The company added that its representatives determined the proposed route for the line after gathering and reviewing input from community members during a feasibility study announced in fall 2019 to assess possible upgrades to the local power grid.
As noted in a project fact sheet, the upgrades take place in Troy, Stafford, and Wilmington townships in northeastern DeKalb County.
The project aims to strengthen the local electric transmission system, reduce the likelihood of power outages, speed recovery of service when outages occur, and prepare the electric system to support economic development. The fact sheet also noted that according to the project schedule, construction is planned for early 2021-summer 2022, with the facilities to be placed in service in fall 2022.
The project will involve steel monopole structures averaging 75 feet in height, the fact sheet said, adding that structures will be placed within a 60-foot ROW.
I&M said in its statement that its ROW representative for the project, Contract Land Staff, plans to communicate with directly involved landowners to discuss preliminary field work and property easements to ensure the safe construction, operation, and maintenance of the lines. The company also said that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I&M and its contractors are limiting in-person visits with landowners during the process to ensure the safety and health of its staff and the public.