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Somerset-Stanton powerline installation moves along

Work continues on the Somerset-Stanton 69kV transmission line that was approved last year despite resident opposition.

The new Somerset-Station 69kV transmission line being installed by Xcel Energy is progressing along. Foundation work began June 11, and pole and wiring work started July 16.

The project is now approximately 60 percent complete, based on the work activities of foundation installation, pole setting and wire installation.

According to Liz Wolf Green, senior communications consultant with Xcel Energy, the company is still in the process of gaining access to two parcels that will allow the transmission line to be completed. Legal action has been taken in District Court for condemnation of property to allow for an easement on the land.

"We continue to work through the process and expect a decision on the remaining two parcels in early October," she said.

Once the final easements are in place, Wolf Green said she expects construction of the line to be complete around Dec. 21.

"Before the line is energized some testing needs to be completed at each of the substations," she explained. "That work should be done by mid-January 2013."

The powerline going up across two townships was the subject of considerable controversy among some residents in 2011. Efforts by some residents to redirect the route of a new transmission line failed.

The transmission line, which will travel eight miles primarily along 210th Avenue and County Road C, is supported by large steel poles that tower 75 to 110 feet above the ground.

Because the Town of Stanton Board didn't allow Xcel Energy to place poles on public property near the old town hall and the community park on the Apple River, the transmission line instead heads to the north of JJ's Outpost Bar & Grill and crosses the Apple River in that location. The line then meets back up on the original route along County Road C. A small section along 210th Avenue also was rerouted to lessen the impact on a wetland area.

Xcel officials claim the transmission line is needed to improve the reliability of electricity service in western Wisconsin. And with anticipated growth in New Richmond area, they claim, the need for expanded electrical capacity is important.