Public meetings start for possible power line project

Multimillion-dollar power line project through Waunakee could start in 2016
Public meetings start for possible power line project

A multimillion-dollar power line project that could affect thousands of area residents is one step closer to reality.

The Public Service Commission gave the green light to allow public comment on the proposed Badger Coulee Project. If approved, the 150-mile electrical line will run from La Crosse to Madison.

Two routes are being considered. One would run through Waunakee, which is where the PSC held a meeting Wednesday.

It’s the first in a series of public meetings the commission is holding to discuss the project’s impact on the environment and community areas.

“The concern to the village could be that as we continue to grow, as the pace and development demands growth, that the potential route could be impacting those neighborhoods, those future neighborhoods,” Waunakee Village Administrator Todd Schmidt said.

The PSC’s board will decide next April whether to sign off on the whole project and which route is best.

“Whenever possible, we look to site a transmission line wherever there is existing infrastructure to minimize the impact to the environment and minimize the impact to property owners,” said Kaya Freiman, spokesperson for American Transmission Co.

If the line is approved, Xcel Energy and American Transmission would start construction in 2016.