Transmission Lines: A Project Update

by Patrick Kirchhofer, Peoria County Farm Bureau

As individuals demand more household conveniences, the demand for electricity through the power grid is also on the rise. To that end, Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) is proposing to build a 345,000-volt transmission line between Galesburg (Sandburg Substation) and Peoria (Fargo Substation) named the Spoon River Transmission Line Project.

In April, six public open house meetings were held: two in Wyoming (Stark County), two in Galesburg and two in Peoria. These meetings were well attended, offering residents and landowners an opportunity to view the five initially proposed routes and share their knowledge on the proposed development, the location of pipelines and structures, and more. The area in which the transmission lines could be located includes the northern boundaries of Wataga, Victoria and Wyoming, while the southern boundary includes Maquon, Yates City and Elmwood.

After this first phase of public open house meetings, ATXI narrowed the proposed routes to A, B and C, and a second phase of open houses was held in June in Galesburg, Brimfield and Peoria for the public to review these routes and converse with project representatives. Route A primarily follows I-74 between Galesburg and Peoria. Route B follows Route A from Galesburg for about 10 miles, then veers to the north of I-74; just south of Princeville, it turns south to connect with the Fargo Substation. Beginning at the Sandburg Substation, Route C turns south of I-74 and connects with Route A near Route 78 and I-74. Of course, all routes are subject to change, pending Illinois Commerce Commission approval.

Farmers and landowners within these areas have a key stake and interest in this project. The total width of the easement under the transmission line is 150 feet, and the line will typically be located in the center of the easement. Landowners will retain full use and ownership of the property within the easement, although structures may not be built or trees planted that would encroach upon the easement.

A single shaft pole will be used to support the power lines, which will decrease the footprint compared to previous supporting structures. The steel pole will be set in a concrete foundation, typically eight to 12 feet wide. Poles will span an average of 850 feet, and the clearance between the ground and the power line will be a minimum of 25 feet.

During construction, Ameren will utilize the easement. Heavy equipment will cause compaction on fields, crops will be damaged if it's done during the growing season, and, of course, there will be future inconveniences for the farmer in planting and harvesting crops around the poles and concrete pads. At the end of construction, Ameren indicates the property will be restored as close as practical to its preconstruction condition and landowners will be compensated for crop loss, field compaction and other damages caused by the transmission lines’ construction.

Ameren's goal is to file a minimum of two routes—both a primary and alternate route—with the Illinois Commerce Commission later in 2014. It anticipates the final route will be determined by the ICC in mid-2015. Construction would likely begin in 2017 and the transmission line would be operating in 2018.

The Peoria and Knox County farm bureaus will host an informational meeting at the Brimfield American Legion on July 22nd at 6pm, with Laura Harmon of the Illinois Farm Bureau as presenter. Farmers and landowners are encouraged to attend to become more familiar with the project and the easement process. iBi

For more information on the Spoon River Transmission Line Project, visit