Electric transmission line from Kansas to Nebraska ahead of schedule

07/18/2012 5:00 AM

07/18/2012 5:09 PM

The first phase of an electric transmission line from Kansas to Nebraska is running smoothly and construction of the second phase is six months ahead of schedule, according to the company constructing the line in Kansas.

The Hutchinson News reported that the 90 miles of the high-voltage line from Spearville to near Hays was energized June 29 and is operating smoothly, said Joe Kirik Sr., spokesman for ITC Holdings Corp.

“This means additional transmission capacity is now available between Hays and Dodge City, which are two of the major demand centers in western Kansas,” Kirik said.

The northern end of the line ties into Midwest Energy’s system at Post Rock.

Construction on Phase II, an 85-mile segment from Post Rock to the Nebraska border, is expected to be finished before the end of the year – more than six months ahead of schedule, according to the newspaper.

“Weather has been good and construction has been going along smoothly,” Kirik said. “There’ve been no major glitches.”

Crews have built nearly all the foundations for the transmission structures and erected all of the steel monopoles through Ellis, Rooks and Osborne counties, Kirik said. Transmission line wiring from Hays to Osborne County also is completed.

The system requires an average of about six 100- to 150-foot-tall steel monopoles every mile.

Topeka-based ITC Great Plains was building the Kansas stretch of the line, with Sunflower Electric and Midwest Energy handling maintenance. The Nebraska Public Power District is building a segment from the Nebraska border to Axtell, Neb.

When the project was first proposed in 2008, the estimated cost was $90 million. That cost estimate has nearly doubled to $175 million, but construction costs are running nearly $25 million under the recalculated estimates offered to regulators last year, Kirik said.

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