A route for the Big Stone South to Ellendale electricity transmission line has been chosen and will cross through the counties of Grant, Day and Brown into Dickey County, N.D.
The proposed route for the line, which is projected to cost more than $300 million, is being built by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Otter Tail Power Co.
The line is being constructed to help improve the reliability of the regional power grid and to increase capacity as the region grows. It will connect substations near Big Stone City and Ellendale, N.D., and will be 160 to 170 miles long.
Renewable energy sources can be added into the system.
Day County Commissioner Darrell Hildebrant said he first saw a map of the preferred route last week.
According to documents from utility companies, state permits will be applied for later this summer and in fall.
Hildebrant, commission vice chairman, said he's been hearing mostly concerns from constituents about the project. Concerns revolve around hindrances that might come from installing the line.
"There hasn't been much personal contact with the people whose land they're proposing to go through," he said. "They've been disappointed in the process that's been going on."
Those who own land along this preferred route will be given notice if an easement on their land is needed, according to the documents.
The amount of an easement depends on value, statistics on agriculture, impact on acreage, how much property damage there might be and the impact of line work on other projects, according to an informational flier.
Brown County commissioners were also given notice of the preferred route, said commission chairman Duane Sutton. He said he hasn't been contacted by any concerned people at this point.
Discussion has not been brought up at meetings.
"If there's a reason to be concerned, we'll bring it up at meetings so we can share that info with everybody," he said.
The easement is a one-time payment, which Hildebrant said some Day County landowners disagree with.
"Some are also just opposed to someone crossing their land," he said.
With the routing process now complete, construction on the line is slated to begin in 2016.
"I'd like to see it go through," Hildebrant said. "I'm not really opposed to it myself, but I'm not in the landowners' position. I don't have land."
Building the line through Day County is a positive, he said, because of the additional tax revenue that would benefit the county, townships and school districts.
Most of the line will be comprised of single pole structures, with a 75-foot right of way on each side. No homes are in the right of way of the line, according to documents.
Other preliminary routes for the line involved the line going through Marshall County and Sargent County, N.D., to get to the Ellendale, N.D., substation instead of Brown County.
In February, five open house meetings were held in Groton, Britton, Webster, Milbank and Ellendale to present preliminary routes. Public input, along with other factors, influenced the selection of the preferred route.
Sutton said the new line will benefit residents.
"The transmission line is necessary, and the sooner they get started, the sooner it will get done," he said. "It's a necessary situation to keep up with the increased demand on electricity."
For more information on the project, visit bssetransmissionline.com.
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