New 500-kV transmission lines to be constructed at Grand Coulee Dam

ELECTRIC CITY, Wash. 1/10/12 (PennWell) -- Bonneville Power Administration will soon begin construction of six new 500-kV overhead transmission lines at Grand Coulee Dam.

The decision to move forward follows BPA's completion of the final environmental assessment for the project and the release of its Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) report. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the 6,809-MW Grand Coulee project, has also released a FONSI on the project.

The six 500-kV overhead transmission lines will replace six existing underground lines that consist of "aging, oil-filled cables between Grand Coulee's third power plant and the 500kV spreading yard," according to a BPA release. The new lines will transfer power across the Columbia River before proceeding uphill to connect to existing lines that transfer electricity into the regional power grid.

Construction is expected to begin in February 2012, with work continuing through winter 2012 as weather permits, according to the release. The tender for the project is available now, and BPA says a contractor will be named soon.

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