MN PUC approves Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project route
MINNEAPOLIS-The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted
unanimously to grant a Route Permit for an approximate
80-mile 345 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line
between Hampton and Rochester, Minn. to the Minnesota
border near Alma, Wis.
The Commission approved CapX2020's modified preferred
route, including Highway 52 in the Cannon Falls area and
the Zumbro River crossing at White Bridge Road. The
administrative law judge had recommended a western bypass
of the Cannon Falls area, with a crossing at Lake Byllesby
Dam, as well as a crossing at the Zumbro River dam.
Detailed route maps will be posted to www.capx2020.com.
The Commission also approved CapX2020's alternate route for
the 35-mile 161 kV line between a new substation at Pine
Island and the Northern Hills Substation northwest of
"The La Crosse project will increase reliability in the
growing Rochester area and surrounding rural areas and will
improve access to renewable generation in southeastern
Minnesota," said Priti Patel, co-director of CapX2020. "The
Commission's decision affirms the need for transmission in
Minnesota and regionally to serve customers with reliable,
affordable electricity for decades to come."
The CapX2020 utilities began engaging the public in 2007,
hosting several rounds of open houses and routing work
group meetings where landowners and local officials could
learn about the project and provide information on land use
considerations in the project area, such as agricultural
impacts, local development plans, proximity to homes and
"We can't build a project like this without affecting
people," said Tom Hillstrom, project routing lead. "The
goal of the process was to identify the route with the
least impact to people and the environment. We think the
process was successful thanks to the participation of
thousands of landowners and agency personnel."
Permit approval for the 345 kV line in Wisconsin is
expected on or before June 4, 2012. The federal
Environmental Impact Statement, which covers the entire
project, is expected to be issued in June, with federal
approval this fall. Construction is expected to start in
Minnesota in early 2013. The Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse
project, including the route in Wisconsin, is expected to
be energized in 2015. The overall project cost is
approximately $490 million.