CapX2020 project receives final go-ahead
VILLAGE OF HOLMEN, Wis. -- After months of controversy and hours of meetings, the Public Service Commission has given final approval of the CapX2020 power line project.
The project will bring 48 miles of power lines stretching from Alma through Galesville to Holmen.
It was approved by the PSC only after changes were made to the route near the village of Holmen, which has not been quiet about their dislike for the CapX2020 project.
But Holmen Administrator, Scott Heinig said if it had to come, at least their voices were heard.
"I feel like I can speak for our residents and our school district and suggest that they would prefer the line not come through Holmen, absolutely, no question," said Heinig.
The project is bringing 48 miles of 150 feet power line poles from Alma and ending at a substation in Holmen.
"When we found out that CapX2020 was approved through the Holmen area and a new substation to be located in Holmen we were obviously disappointed. It will have a significant impact on our aesthetic community," said Heinig.
But approval came only after Holmen asked the Public Service Commission to require a change to the proposed power line route.
"The changes that have been made addressed our concern with regards to economic development, future land use, and the impact to our schools were significantly reduced with these changes but it will still have a very significant visual impact on our community," said Heinig.
The new route jumps over Highway 53 near where it intersects with Highway 35 and follows Highway 53 instead of cutting through town.
The change also makes it possible for a more than 3-mile long power line that runs through Holmen to be removed.
"There will be another line 3 1/2 miles of an existing 160,000-volt line built in 1954 that we will be removing that goes right through the center of Holmen. We're going to be taking that out and that will really change the landscape there by not having those lines," said Xcel Energy Community Service Manager Mike Herro.
And while the project couldn't make everyone happy, at least the conversation did.
"I think we did our best to come up with a good solution and I thought we did a good job of getting people involved in the process," said Herro.
"If the CapX2020 line is going to come through to Holmen the way that it is this is the best possible way it could happen. We would still prefer that it didn't happen, but if it does have to than we are glad the PSC made the changes that it did," said Heinig.
The Public Service Commission gave their final approval Wednesday.
The project still needs federal approval which is expected to come this fall.
Construction won't start until late 2013 or early 2014.
Copyright 2012 by WKBT News8000. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.