JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After years of trying to put a new transmission line in place, the Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) has announced that the final route for the Mark Twain Transmission Project has been selected.
The project, which would span an approximately 100-mile route, would establish a 345,000-volt transmission line in northeast Missouri.
The proposed route would run through Adair, Knox, Lewis, Marion and Schuyler Counties and spans north to the Iowa state line.
The proposed project became a heated debate over the issue of county assent, which requires the counties to give their approval for such a project to be allowed to construct and operate in their area. ATXI had scrapped their original route and came to an agreement with Northeast Power and Ameren Missouri to build the new line over an already-existing right of way.
And late Tuesday night, the final piece fell into place when the Adair County Commission voted 2-1 to approve their request.
“The final route was selected based on feedback from landowners and community members during the past several months,” Shawn E. Schukar, chairman and president of ATXI, said. “We are grateful to those who took the time to share their opinions and preferences with us, and we look forward to working together with Northeast Power and Ameren Missouri as we move forward with this important project for northeast Missouri.”
As part of the project, approximately 59 miles of Northeast Power’s 161,000-volt transmission line – running between Palmyra and Kirksville – will be completely rebuilt. ATXI will remove the current wooden H-frame transmission facilities and replace them with new steel structures, which ATXI will pay for.
“Due to the age of Northeast Power’s current 161,000-volt line, it would need to be replaced within 10 to 15 years at a cost of approximately $30 million,” Douglas Aeilts, CEO and general manager, Northeast Power, said. “Working with ATXI on this co-location project allows Northeast Power to save a significant amount of money while enhancing the reliability of our transmission system. Northeast Power is committed to providing our member-distribution cooperatives with safe, affordable, reliable electricity and value-added services. Our involvement in this project is consistent with that promise.”
In addition, ATXI will also rebuild Ameren Missouri’s line between Kirksville and the Iowa border.
With the five counties giving their approval, all that ATXI needs now is approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission. The company is expected to file for a certificate of convenience and necessity with the Missouri Public Service Commission for the Mark Twain Transmission Project in mid-September and hopes to break ground next spring.
ATXI expects to invest approximately $250 million in the project, which is scheduled to be placed in-service in December 2019.