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Rockdale-West Middleton Transmission Line Project
The Rockdale-West Middleton Transmission Line is a 345kV AC line built in 2013 by American Transmission Company (ATC) in Dane County, Wisconsin in order to meet growing demands for electricity. Mitigation efforts for the 32-mile line focused on avoiding agricultural lands, reducing visual impacts, and protecting water and wetlands.
- Agriculture: Of four proposed routes, the selected alternative follows a highway that cuts through the southern part of the city of Madison, avoiding farm lands in more rural parts of the county. This alternative crossed the least amount of agricultural lands, satisfying citizen groups wanting to protect the rural landscape.
- Visual impacts: The selected route traverses the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and the city-owned Odana Hills golf course—both areas where visual impacts were mitigated. At the arboretum, ATC used shorter transmission towers that do not disrupt the view of the tree line. The arboretum towers stand 90-110 feet tall, in contrast to standard towers, which are 120-150 feet tall. At the golf course, poles were built closer together, and their armsl hang farther over the Beltline to minimize the need to cut down trees on the golf course itself. Landscaping helps to hide the electrical equipment from the view of golfers.
- Water and wetlands: Wildlife concerns include bird collisions in important flyways and potential conflicts with the state-threatened Blanding’s turtle. ATC installed bird flight diverters in key areas to reduce avian collisions. The company avoided working in turtle habitat during their active period from March 15 to November 1. When work had to occur in turtle habitat during the active period, ATC installedl an exclusion fence to protect turtles.
The project was completed in February 2013, and the line is in service.
- American Transmission Company Rockdale-West Middleton Project Website
- Rockdale-West Middleton 345kV Transmission Project Planning Scope Document:http://psc.wi.gov/ PSC Docket No. 137-CE-147, October 15, 2007.
- Rockdale to West Middleton Project Final Environmental Impact Statement:http://psc.wi.gov/ PSC Docket No. 137-CE-147. February 2009.
Organization: American Transmission Company
Planning Phase: Project Planning (siting, mitigation, avian protection)