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What's going on here? Companies upgrading power lines along Highway 14

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Frank Schultz
March 11, 2013

— What it is: American Transmission Co. and Alliant Energy are transferring their power lines to new poles along Highway 14.

The 2.5-mile segment connects the Russell Substation, located near the intersection of County F and Deer Path Trail in the town of Janesville, to the McCue Substation at Highway 14 and Kennedy Road in the city of Janesville.

The work is intended to improve reliability by replacing aging and overstressed structures, said American Transmission Co. spokeswoman Kaya Freiman.

The company spent $2.5 million on the project, Freiman said.

ATC finished its work at the end of February. Alliant is now replacing its electrical distribution lines, which hang below the ATC transmission lines, said Alliant spokeswoman Annemarie Newman.

Newman said the taller poles will allow more distance between the ATC and Alliant lines, which will allow them to operate more efficiently.

Power lines heat up, getting hotter as the power coursing through them increases, Newman said. The lines expand with the heat, causing them to sag. Too much sag can bring the lines too close together. Having greater space between the lines allows more power to be pushed through them, Newman said.

Alliant also is replacing its lines with lines that will do a better job of standing up to the buffeting of the winds, which can be especially strong in this area, Newman.

Alliantís cost is just over $300,000, Newman said.

Voltage: Power lines are rated as having low, medium, high, extra high and ultra high voltage. The ATC lines are high voltage, carrying 138 kilovolts. Alliantís 12.4-kilovolt lines are medium voltage.

Poles: The 62 new poles, made of Douglas fir, tower over the old poles. They are 75 to 80 feet tall. The old poles were installed in the late 1970s, Freiman said.

Whatís next: Alliant will put up crossarms and set its wires, which will take about a month, Newman said. Then the telecommunications companies can set their wires underneath. The final stage will be removal of the old poles.



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