South Sioux City, Neb.– Following a public hearing and a 30-day public comment period, Nebraska Public Power District has determined final routes for both the north line and south line of its 115,000-volt South Sioux City Transmission Line Expansion project. When completed, the project will support an increase in electric demand due to industrial expansion and economic development efforts in the community.
Two, new 115,000-volt transmission lines will be constructed, one on a southern route from the existing Twin Church substation, located west of Dakota City, to a new substation to be constructed northeast of Dakota City. A second line will run on a northerly route, again starting at the Twin Church substation and terminating at the new substation. Both line segments will become operational during the summer of 2012.
“Determining the final routes does not mean that we have all of the details completely worked out yet,” explained NPPD Senior Project Manager Craig Holthe. “We have taken into consideration all of the public comments in developing the final routes, but until we have right-of-entry agreements from landowners and an opportunity to conduct survey work and further engineering, some aspects of the route, such as where a structure is specifically located, could still change.”
Holthe also noted that a few variations in the routes may occur where landowners have requested the line to be placed in a different location on their property. Voluntary easements for all land along these routes are required to make these changes. NPPD will be discussing these alternatives with landowners to determine if everyone is supportive of the route. As part of its consideration, NPPD will also need to determine if route alterations support future operations and maintenance activities.
With the final line route announced, NPPD will begin a process called right-of-entry. The right-of-entry process allows NPPD to conduct key activities on private property that includes surveying, preliminary field engineering, and land appraisal. Preliminary work in the urban areas will mainly be conducted from public right-of-way, with landowners contacted where access for property is needed.
Starting in September 2009, NPPD began a series of public open house meetings that culminated in a public hearing in November 2010.
To determine the line routes, NPPD started with a general study area and then narrowed that area into corridors. At the third round of open houses in June 2010, NPPD presented alternative and preferred line routes within the corridors. Proposed routes were highlighted at the public hearing held in November 2010. Since then NPPD once again reviewed all comments, along with at least three dozen other routing criteria, such as the line’s proximity to homes, environmental issues, accessibility, etc., to arrive at the final line routes.