ATC says new transmission line is ahead of schedule

American Transmission Company said its contractors are ahead of schedule as they work to complete the new Rockdale-West Middleton transmission line, which goes through Madison.

On Monday, crews were busy near Seminole Highway lifting up the 9,000-pound top section of one of the towers — one of dozens along the Beltline. More towers will be going up as the year goes on, completing the 32-mile transmission line, which will run from the Town of Christiana to Middleton.

“The project is moving very well. We are moving a bit ahead of schedule,” said Sarah Justus, spokeswoman for ATC. “We’ve had the blessing of a lot of really good weather.”

Drivers may have noticed that contractors are using more than a half a dozen different styles and configurations of power poles for this project. Some of the towers are “Y” shaped, others look more like a “T,” and some have arms facing one direction or both directions. Justus said there is a good reason for all the types of towers.

“We’re threading the needle, so to speak,” Justus said. “We are dealing with bridges and overpasses, and trying to minimize the overall height — and also make sure that we have enough distance from the bridges, so that out into the future, the (Department of Transportation) can do the maintenance they need to do on bridges.”

Justus said special shaped towers along the Arboretum portion of the Beltline will be more visually pleasing, and “T” shaped towers across the Yahara River help accommodate the smaller base, minimizing impact on the wetlands.

VIDEO: ATC says new transmission line is ahead of schedule

“Really, it is very much about using structure types and using creative structures to try to address some of the problems you see with trying to get in such an enclosed space, and thread that needle,” Justus said.

The last part of this project will happen along the Odana Golf Course. ATC said it’s doing the work later this year, in the offseason, so golfers aren’t affected.

The project is on pace to be completed and in service by early 2013.