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CapX2020 power line project breaks ground, heads this way

Even though the CapX2020 Brookings County-Hampton project has broken ground, area residents will not start to see construction until sometime next spring.

It's been a couple of years since much has happened with the project, but that doesn't mean the project has gone by the wayside. In about a year, construction will start on the 345-kilovolt power line that will run through parts of Eureka, Castle Rock and Empire townships.

The CapX2020 project has been on the books for several years already. It started with the filing of a certificate of need in 2007, and is expected to be completed locally in 2015.

The local project, which starts in Brookings, S.D., includes a 240-mile route that will end at a substation in Hampton. The Public Utilities Commission has approved a basic route for the line.

From Highview Avenue in Eureka Township, the line will go east along 240th Street West to the railroad tracks, then go north along the tracks until it hits 230th Street West. The route will continue east along 230th Street until just before Blaine Avenue in Castle Rock, where it will turn north again to connect to 215th Street East. It will then go east until it connects into the Hampton substation.

Work on the section that goes through Dakota County will not start until next spring, according to CapX2020 spokesman Randy Fordice. Part of the route had to be reviewed by the US Department of Fish and Wildlife because that division had concerns with potential impacts of the project on migratory birds in the area. Once those concerns were addressed, the route was approved.

That decision enabled planning to move ahead, Fordice said. The first section to be constructed is from the Cedar Mountain substation near Renville to the Helena substation in Scott County. That construction will likely go through December.

The next step will be to purchase easements for properties along the route from the Helena substation east to the Chub Lake substation, which is near Interstate 35.

"We're currently working with the landowners between Helena and Chub Lake," Fordice said, "and simultaneously doing the design work from Chub Lake to Hampton."

Although the route is fairly set, there is some room for negotiation as to placement of the poles on specific properties. Fordice said Negotiations with Dakota County property owners are scheduled to start around the beginning of 2013.

The poles to be erected are about 10-feet wide, with an arm hang-off of about 30 feet. In order to erect a pole, a 30- to 40-foot hole needs to be dug out for each pole. Several poles are erected at a time, Fordice said, which keeps the project moving ahead at a faster rate rather than going through the same steps one at a time.

"They'll want to do that as efficiently as possible," Fordice said. "They want to keep the project moving along on schedule.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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