American Electric Power’s (AEP) Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) on July 20 said that it will invest more than $17m in the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area in Michigan to enhance service for customers through the Benton Harbor-Fair Plain Transmission Line Rebuild Project, which involves rebuilding a high-voltage electric line connecting the Main Street substation in Benton Harbor to the Hickory Creek substation in St. Joseph.
The company said that the project also includes:
- Upgrading about seven miles of 34.5-kV transmission line to 69-kV standards
- Upgrading wooden power poles, installed in the 1950s, to steel monopoles
The rebuilding of the high-voltage line will enhance and help ensure safe and reliable electric services for decades to come, reduce the need for frequent maintenance, help reduce outage duration times, improve the line’s overall performance, and promote economic growth in this portion of Berrien County, Mich., the company said.
I&M said that it received feedback and input from landowners and stakeholders to determine the final line route to minimize impacts to the community and environment.
As noted in a project fact sheet, the project area includes the City of Benton Harbor, community of Fair Plain, and Berrien County. Company representatives plan to rebuild some sections of the line in the existing ROW, which could require updating or supplementing current easements, the fact sheet noted, adding that other sections of the project include re-routes that require new easements.
According to the project schedule, construction would take place in late fall 2022 to spring 2023; the facilities would be placed in service in summer 2023; and restoration activities would be complete in fall 2023.