An evidentiary hearing regarding Ohio Power Company’s d/b/a AEP Ohio Marion Road-Mound Street Transmission Line Project will be held in person on July 15 in Columbus, Ohio, an administrative law judge (ALJ) said in a June 8 filing made with the Ohio Power Siting Board.
As noted in the filing, AEP Ohio in November 2020 filed with the board an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to build the project.
According to that application, AEP Ohio proposes to build the new 138-kV underground line from the existing Marion Road substation to the existing Mound Street substation in Franklin County, Ohio. The line would replace the existing Canal Street-Marion Road 138-kV underground transmission line, the company said, adding that the project is primarily driven by the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Interstate (I)-70/I-71 Columbus Crossroads project in downtown Columbus.
As a result of the changes to the freeway interchange system, a portion of the Canal Street-Marion Road line must be removed from under I-70 to accommodate ODOT’s highway expansion plans. AEP Ohio added that in addition to the ODOT project, the existing Canal Street-Marion Road line is a dielectric fluid that is of an oil-filled, pipe-type that was installed in the 1950s, and is no longer commonly used. Removal of the I-70 portion of the Canal Street-Marion Road line and a full rebuild of the circuit is necessary to accommodate ODOT’s project, as well as provide local customers with greater electric service reliability, the company said.
The proposed project, which is east of downtown Columbus, begins at the existing Marion Road substation at the intersection of Marion Road and South Champion Road, and terminates at the existing Mound Street substation, at the intersection of East Mound Street and South Monroe Avenue. The company added that the project will be about 3.25 to 3.40 miles long, depending on the selected route.
AEP Ohio said that the preferred route from the existing Marion Road substation to the existing Mound Street substation is about 3.25 miles long. The route exits the Marion Road substation to the south and rounds the east side of the substation parcel before turning north for about 0.1 mile along the eastern edge of South Champion Avenue. The company added that the route then travels east along Reeb Avenue for one block before turning north and running along Oakwood Avenue for about 1.8 miles to Newton Street.
From the intersection of Newton Street and Oakwood Avenue, the route runs west along Newton Street for about 0.3 mile, then travels north along Gilbert Street, and crosses under I-70. The company also said that on the north side of I-70, the route runs west for about 0.3 mile along an alley and East Fulton Street, before heading north on South Monroe Avenue and terminating at the existing Mound Street substation.
The estimated applicable intangible and capital cost for the preferred route totals about $39.8m, the company said.
Construction of the project is planned to begin in 3Q21, and the anticipated in-service date is January 2023, the company noted.
In the June 8 filing, the ALJ noted that the director of the Ohio Department of Health in mid-May issued an order indicating that “except in certain limited circumstances, fully vaccinated persons may safely do most activities without a facial covering and without socially distancing.”
As noted in the filing, in light of the updated health-safety guidelines, the ALJ finds it appropriate to convert an adjudicatory hearing scheduled in this matter from a virtual hearing to an in-person hearing. Accordingly, the hearing set for July 15 at 10 a.m., will begin at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s offices in Columbus.
A local public hearing will begin, as scheduled on June 30, at 6 p.m., using remote access technology that facilitates participation by telephone and/or live video on the internet, the ALJ added.