Minnkota awaits assessment results for transmission line in N.D.Minnkota Power Cooperative is anticipating results next week of an environmental assessment of its proposed 345-kilovolt transmission line from Center, N.D., to Grand Forks. A public comment period ends Nov. 19.
By: By Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Minnkota Power Cooperative is anticipating results next week of an environmental assessment of its proposed 345-kilovolt transmission line from Center, N.D., to Grand Forks.
A public comment period ends Nov. 19.
The project description and other details of the proposed $280 million project can be found at Minnkota’s website, www.minnkotacgf.com, and will be available at local libraries and public buildings in the counties where the line is planned.
Construction is expected to begin in summer 2011 and be completed by early 2013, said Michael Hennes, project manager.
The preferred route for the 260-mile line generally runs along the border of Eddy and Foster counties, through northern Griggs County, a sliver of southeastern Nelson County near Aneta, N.D., and enters Grand Forks County about one mile north of N.D. Highway 15. From there, it runs past Northwood, turns northward to an area near Ninth Avenue Northeast, and continues.
About three miles past Northwood, N.D., it moves about two miles north, then follows an east-west corridor north of Ninth Avenue Northeast. The preferred route cuts diagonally through Fairfield Township, then follows 19th Street Northeast northward to a point between 16th and 17th Avenues Northeast, where it runs eastward toward Minnkota’s Prairie Substation on the west end of Grand Forks.
The project also involves a deal with Minnesota Power in Duluth, in which Minnesota Power will buy an existing transmission line used by Minnkota across southern North Dakota, and use it to ship wind power — from a new wind farm near Center — to Duluth.
Minnkota originally considered three possible routes, but the now-preferred Route A scored highest in several areas:
* Lowest impact to cropland (55.6 percent of right-of-way).
* Shortest in length.
* Minimal impact to homes and airports (it would run two miles south of Grand Forks International Airport).
* Missouri River crossing is near an existing transmission line crossing, which reduces visual and species impacts.
* Fewest number of large water body crossings.
* Best addresses concerns from agencies and public input.
“A primary factor in siting is to keep towers away from county roads,” Hennes said in an effort to minimize impact to rural houses and businesses. The line will be at least 500 feet from any structure.
The transmission line will include monopoles about 140 feet tall, with five to seven poles per mile. The ground clearance will be 35 to 40 feet. The concrete footings will be 7 to 10 feet in diameter and about 40 feet deep.
The right-of-way will extend 75 feet on each side of the line.
“When it’s done, farmers will be able to farm right up to the tower,” Hennes said.
The next steps in the process are: completion of a cultural resources survey, followed by right-of-way acquisition and filing of the application with the North Dakota Public Service Commission, Hennes told the Grand Forks County this week.
He plans to meet with county commissions in all counties along the route in the next four to six weeks.
The construction project is expected to employ as many as 200 people.
Kevin Bonham is a reporter at the
Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.