Power lines set to traverse Platte County going up

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo The large monopoles to facilitate new KCP&L power transmission lines can be seen to the east of Interstate 29 just south of the Dearborn exit. The once-controversial project should be completed by the summer of 2015. A once hotly-contested power transmission line is now under construction and set to come online next year. A trio of new monopoles can now be seen to the east of Interstate 29, just south of the Dearborn exit.

The Iatan-Nashua project was first proposed in 2010 during the final construction of Iatan II, located just north of Weston.

According to Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) officials, the new power lines will be primarily used to increase power system reliability and create redundancies in the event of power failures.

KCP&L is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization, mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale prices of electricity.

In 2010, KCP&L outlined several possible routes for new high-power transmission lines to the public, generally running east from Iatan, crossing Interstate 29, then snaking southeast between the Dearborn and Camden Point areas before ending in Clay County at Nashua. Based on negative feedback from property owners during proposal, the utility hosted two public forums in Weston and Dearborn and rearranged the line route several times.

In response, area residents banded together to form Concerned Citizens against KCP&L Segment 62, the name of the proposed route. After months of public meetings attended by dozens of property owners, circulation of a petition and coverage by Kansas City and St. Joseph media outlets, KCP&L announced it would move forward with its plans in early 2012.

Although members of Concerned Citizens retained counsel, the issue remained at a simmer until 2013 when the utility filed condemnation suits against several landowners to obtain property easement rights.

According to KCP&L, approximately 90 percent of landowners agreed to the first phase of voluntary settlement offerings. During the final phase of easement acquisition last year, KCP&L settled with an additional 81 landowners.

“The necessary easements have been acquired, followed by surveying and design,” KCP&L spokesperson Rebecca Galati told The Citizen last week. “Final transmission structures are being installed and prepared for service.”

Galati said the line is expected to be in service some time in the summer of 2015.