Milwaukee, Wauwatosa Area Neighbors Announce Land Donation to Allow Controversial Power Lines to be Buried
Overhead lines would be replaced and costs would be cut
Offer shortens route, reduces budget by 16 percent and helps protect neighborhood
Representatives from Milwaukee Montessori School and Parkside Pool Apartments today announced plans to donate a strip of land more than a block long through their 95th Street parking lots to allow American Transmission Company (ATC) to bury its proposed 138,000-volt transmission lines there instead of stringing them overhead.
“Our neighborhood strongly opposes ATC’s proposed overhead power lines, and we are willing to donate an easement of our land to help ensure that ATC buries the lines in a cost-effective way,” said Monica Van Aken, head of school at Milwaukee Montessori School. “Burying the high-voltage lines along 95th Street, six feet below ground through our parking lots, will create an even shorter, cheaper and more direct route to the new electrical substation. The street would not need to be closed for the work, and construction, installation and restoration would be much easier with our land donation in place. Also, the line would be 11% shorter than the 95th street route, which saves a great deal of money.”
Pike Energy Solutions, an electrical energy consulting firm in Austin, Texas, studied ATC’s recommendations and estimates the land donation and shorter route would cut the estimated $15.8 million cost to bury the lines on 95th Street by 16 percent, to $13.3 million. There would also be an estimated 800 foot reduction in needed power lines for the project which saves an estimated $2.5 million from the cost.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) will have the final say in the matter.
Those donating the land also expressed concern that larger, more powerful area institutions might be given preferential treatment by ATC at the expense of the neighborhood. The UW-Milwaukee Real Estate Foundation and Milwaukee Regional Medical Center have expressed opposition to ATC’s overhead power lines and advocated burial of the lines on their properties. ATC has included a recommendation to the PSC to bury the lines on the County grounds, while stringing its high-voltage lines over the school playground, the church and through properties along 95th Street.
“We have hundreds of families in our apartments, there are thousands of parishioners at the church, more than 400 children attending the school and hundreds more people in homes here. This is a significant and densely populated area that ATC will put at risk with overhead lines,” said Sandra Moths, co-owner of Parkside Pool Apartments, which is located along the route. “Our offer today shows we are serious about protecting our neighborhood. Burying these transmission lines addresses our concerns and helps protect our families, neighbors and the children. We urge the PSC to tell ATC to adjust its recommendation to reflect this offer. The PSC should do the right thing for the future of our neighborhood and require that the lines be buried.”
The school, apartments and neighbors are encouraging citizens to send letters to the PSC to support today’s announced land easement donation and encourage the PSC to modify ATC’s recommendation in favor of a more direct and less expensive route with buried lines. More information and links to the PSC can be found at www.burythelines.org.
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