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Transmission project ready for takeoff

By Jan Basina

Just a heads up if you’re planning a visit to Monona this week.

American Transmission Co. will be using helicopters to string wires on the new transmission poles along the Beltline in Monona. It’s part of ATC’s $219 million Rockdale-West Middleton project, which took more than five years of planning and public involvement.

Improvements were sorely needed to Dane County’s electric transmission system. The system was operating at capacity and additional transmission lines were needed to keep up with growing demand. The project also would strengthen the efficiency and reliability of existing lower voltage lines.

The Public Service Commission approved the project in June 2009. Construction began in October 2011 of approximately 32 miles of a new 345-kilovolt transmission line to connect the existing Rockdale Substation, near the town of Christiana, with the West Middleton Substation.

Construction is slated to be finished in March. Right-of-way restoration is anticipated to be completed in the summer.

But now it’s time for some fancy maneuvering by helicopters, which are expected to be hovering about 100 feet above the ground. The whirlybird crews are scheduled to be cruising overhead all this week to connect the wires. Crews will be working from County AB to the I-39/Beltline interchange.

Of course, the schedules are all dependent on weather conditions. Let’s hope the weather holds out and the helicopters complete their mission.

Heads up.

Instead of going to helicopter pilot school, Jan Basina decided to become a data reporter at The Daily Reporter.

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