Sibley County will have new electrical transmission lines constructed here in several years, but where they will be located has yet to be determined.
Randy Fordice of CapX2020, the project that proposes a 345 kV transmission line from South Dakota to the Twin Cities, updated Sibley County Commissioners last week.
Sibley County properties will be affected as part of the Brookings to Hampton Route. Sixty miles of the route from the Cedar Mountain substation to Helena substation, which includes portions of Sibley County, has not yet been determined because of the uncertainty where the power line will cross the Minnesota River, either at Le Sueur or Belle Plaine.
Although the Le Sueur crossing is in the preferred route, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes there would be less of an impact on eagles at Belle Plaine, according to Fordice. The Office of Energy has recommended the Belle Plaine crossing.
More hearings will be scheduled in the future, and Fordice anticipates this area of the route will be set either later this year or early next year.
The majority of the preferred route, from west of Winthrop east, is located south of Highway 19. In the Gaylord area, the preferred route would be just north of County Road 8.
The alternate route would be north of County Road 10 from Highway 15, head north for about a mile on County Road 13, and then head east.
One route would have the transmission lines head north on County Road 3 between Gibbon and Winthrop. Another possibility would have the line head south in Cornish Township, head east through Cornish, Alfsborg, and Sibley Townships, and then head north along County Road 13 in Sibley and Dryden Townships, head east along Highway 5, and then head north a couple miles west of Arlington.
Affected landowners will be contacted for easements in 2011. The routes have 150 foot right-of-ways. The single pole structures would have three conductors on each side, and would be located about 1,000 feet apart.