MINDEN, Nebraska -- Nebraska Public Power District employees placed a new, 345,000-kilovolt transmission line into service. Energizing the line is an important milestone in NPPD's Axtell to Kansas transmission line project and indicates the project is nearing conclusion.
The new, high-voltage 53-mile power line is needed because it will help ease a bottleneck that existed in NPPD's regional transmission grid. The new power line also provides an additional north-south pathway for energy in the area, enhancing the electric system's reliability in case of ice or wind storms.
The Axtell to Kansas project began in 2009. It featured a comprehensive and thorough public involvement process, including three rounds of open houses and one round of public hearings. Numerous other meetings were held between project representatives and interested and/or affected parties to determine, among other items, the final line route, right-of-way easements and property access.
Actual construction of the line took about one year. Brink Constructors, Inc. of Rapid City, S.D. was the main construction contractor for the project.
"I would like to thank the public, and especially the landowners along the line route, for their cooperation," said NPPD's Senior Project Manager Craig Holthe. "Much of the reason why this project has gone so smoothly can be attributed to their support and willingness to keep open lines of communication with us. We expect this to be the beginning of a long-standing relationship."
The Axtell to Kansas project was initially budgeted at $77 million. Final costs and associated payments are not yet tallied. Some right-of-way damage payments are not scheduled to be calculated and paid until after the beginning of 2013. Indications are, at this time, that the project will come in under budget.