Ameren's proposed 345,000 volt transmission line for south Bloomington is scheduled to come into service in June of 2015. (Photo by Eric Stock/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - State regulators have given Ameren Corp. the green light to proceed with construction of a new 345,000 volt transmission line in south Bloomington.
The Illinois Commerce Commission granted Ameren a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity earlier this month to build the line which is scheduled to be put into service by June of 2015.
Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said the utility will soon begin contacting landowners to acquire easements along a 150-foot right of way south of East Hamilton Road for 5.8 miles, connecting Ameren's Bloomington substation at Lafayette and Easy streets to its Brokaw substation near Ireland Grove and Towanda Barnes roads.
Ameren presented several alternative routes all of which were longer and more costly but potentially less intrusive, but the ICC accepted Ameren's first choice.
Morris said if Ameren is unable to reach agreement with any landowners along the right-of-way after one year of negotiations, the utility could file for condemnation authority to acquire the land while proceeding with construction.
"If you had a parcel that you couldn't have an agreement on, it wouldn't stop the project," Morris said.
Morris said once land is acquired, engineering will begin, followed by construction.
He said the project is being done to improve reliability and accommodate a growing population in McLean County.
"It's going to strengthen the entire the entire electric system in and around the Bloomington- Normal area and is being done to provide the capacity needed to meet future demand.
The project is expected to cost at estimated $27 million. Ameren had filed its initial request with the ICC in February.
You can follow the project's progress on a dedicated Ameren website www.brtransmission.com.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.