NIPSCO Officials Update Commissioners on Transmission Line Project

ReynoldsTopekaESIPLogoSite clearing work is under way for construction of NIPSCO’s 100-mile, $270 million above-ground electrical transmission line. It will connect the power company’s three major transmission substations in Reynolds, Burr Oak and Topeka as required by the grid operator for the Midwest region. NIPSCO officials say the new transmission line will enhance system reliability, offer environmental benefits by increasing access to wind and solar energy and allow for greater access to supplies of electricity including improved access to lower cost electricity for customers.

Starke County is the halfway point for the project, and the contractor that is doing the sight prep is using a lot just south of the Astoria Inn in Knox for equipment storage. NIPSCO Director of Public Affairs Larry Graham told the Starke County Commissioners Monday night that land clearing for the entire project is expected to continue through the end of March. Construction should wrap up by late 2017 or early 2018, at which time the line will be placed in service.

The route does not run in a straight line. Graham says a lot of factors went into the route selection.

“There’s environmental considerations, trying to avoid cities and towns to the degree we can, trying to avoid large concentrations of homes, trees. A lot of it is environmental considerations. So we’re balancing the cost of the route against the environmental impacts. The route has to be reviewed and improved by a number of different environmental agencies.”

Graham adds NIPSCO also took costs into consideration.

“We’re sensitive to the fact that customers do pay for it, and we’re going to try to design it as efficiently and safely and try to minimize the impacts as much as we possibly can. There’s a lot of masters that we are responsible to.”

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