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Power line company plans public meetings over project

August 21, 2012
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer (kwhitney@miningjournal.net) , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The American Transmission Co. has completed an initial round of internal reviews related to a massive electric transmission line project that will stretch from central Wisconsin to Marquette County and the company plans to do more public outreach in the coming months.

The review has resulted in the elimination of some prospective corridors for the Bay Lake Project, according to ATC spokeswoman Jackie Olson. She said ATC plans to send letters this month to landowners who may still be affected by the project.

Those letters will serve as invitations to a collection of public outreach meetings, which will likely be held in October, according to Olson.

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Typically, ATC officials have said, the company looks to co-locate new lines with existing infrastructure, such as pipelines, highways or rail lines.

The project will create a major transmission line from Green Bay to Ishpeming and is intended to reinforce the electrical transmission grid in the U.P. and northeastern Wisconsin by addressing stability, reliability and generation concerns.

ATC is a multi-state transmission-only utility that owns, operates and maintains the high-voltage electric transmission lines serving parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan.

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The Bay Lake Project will include a new 345-kilovolt transmission line, which will stretch about 175 miles from a new substation in the Green Bay area to an expanded substation southwest of Ishpeming.

As part of the project, ATC will also construct a 138-kilovolt line from the new Green Bay substation to a substation near Oconto Falls, Wis., and a pair of 138-kilovolt lines between Menominee County and the Escanaba area.

Preliminary ATC estimates mark the total cost of the projects at somewhere between $595 million and $895 million.

When the project was initially announced in April, ATC identified dozens of possible corridors for lines as 3,000-foot wide paths criss-crossing maps of the impacted counties.

This spring, the company held six public meetings - preceded by the mailing of 35,000 letters to landowners - throughout the affected project areas in an attempt to gain input from landowners along the proposed lines.

Now, Olson said, the scope of the proposed lines has been reduced and some corridors have been eliminated from contention, though she said "not all that many" had been dropped.

A map of the original proposed corridors can be found at The Mining Journal's website, www.miningjournal.net.

In late 2013, ATC plans to file regulatory applications in both Michigan and Wisconsin, starting a review process that should wrap up by 2015, when construction is planned to begin.

Ideally, the new transmission lines would be in service in late 2016.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.

 
 

 

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