In publication since 1991, Wrangler News is distributed free every other Saturday to more than 18,000 homes in the Kyrene Corridor area of South Tempe and West Chandler, and is supported by local and regional advertisers.

  Search past and present issues of the Wrangler
    Site search Web search                       
   powered by
Classifieds Contact Us Links Media Kit Make a Payment Previous Issues

Back Home Forward
Online Exclusive:
Sides near agreement on power-line controversy
By Doug Snover

January 7, 2006

Salt River Project has selected the Loop 101-Ray Road route for its planned 69-kilovolt power line; now Chandler and Tempe officials are negotiating separately with the utility to minimize the impact on their residents.

Tempe officials are talking with SRP about two issues: Minimizing the impact on the Cottonwoods area at Guadalupe and Price roads; and burying the line on the north side of the Price-Warner intersection rather than farther south.

In Chandler, the discussion focuses on how to string the new high-tension lines along Ray Road where there already are power lines on wooden poles.

The Tempe City Council has told its staff, “Do not hang power lines adjacent to residential development,” said Jeff Kulaga, assistant city manager.

Kulaga said the city is discussing with SRP how to add the new line to existing poles at Guadalupe and Price roads without impacting the Cottonwoods area on the southwest corner or any other development.

The solution may be to erect new power poles diagonally across the Guadalupe-Price intersection to keep the 69-kV line as far as possible from Cottonwoods, he said.

SRP plans to string the line on new poles along the Price Road-Loop 101 frontage area south from Guadalupe Road to Warner Road, then bury the line south of Warner almost to Ray Road.

Tempe is negotiating with SRP to bury the power line on the north side of Warner Road to keep it as far as possible from residences, Kulaga said.

Both issues are “a matter of seeing if it is feasible from an engineering standpoint and also what’s the cost,” Kulaga said.

Chandler, meanwhile, is talking to SRP about how to string the new 69-kV line along the north side of Ray Road from Price to McClintock Drive.

One option being considered is replacing the existing wood poles with metal poles that are taller but stronger so they can be spaced farther apart, Chandler Public Works Director Bryan Patterson said.

Patterson said there are 19 wood poles along Ray Road today between Loop 101 and McClintock that could be replaced by approximately 14 or 15 metal poles, he said.

Both Chandler and Tempe are planning to use “aesthetics funds” provided by SRP to bury the high-voltage line near residential areas along southbound Price Road on the west side of Loop 101 between Warner and Ray roads.

Chandler’s share of the cost to bury the portion of the power line inside its city limits is estimated at $1.25 million, according to Patterson.

Chandler also will use about $895,000 in SRP “aesthetics fund” money to bury the power line for about one-quarter mile along McClintock north of Ray Road to connect to the existing Houston substation there, he said.

That brings Chandler’s estimated investment in burying the power line to approximately $2.15 million.

Tempe’s investment to bury the controversial power line along Loop 101 has not been announced.

Since 1989, Salt River Project has allocated a small portion of its construction budget to an “aesthetics fund” that communities can use to hide or bury unsightly utility equipment. Each community receives an annual allocation based on how much work SRP has planned inside that community.

Burying the high-voltage Hanger-Houston power line will tap about two years’ worth of Chandler’s “aesthetics fund” allocations, according to Patterson.

Tempe, meanwhile, has spent more than $3 million since the mid-1990s burying smaller power lines along McClintock Drive north of the Houston substation and on other streets in the area, Kulaga noted.

SRP announced on Dec. 23 that it had selected the Loop 101-Ray Road option, a.k.a. “Option F” on the utility’s route map.

SRP spokesman Scott Harelson said at the time that construction will take “probably close to five months.”

SRP expects demand for electricity to exceed capacity by mid-2007 in the area is bounded roughly by Baseline Road to the north, Pecos Road to the south, Cooper Road to the east and Rural Road to the west. The new line through the Kyrene Corridor is needed to avoid overloading existing power lines in that area, utility spokesmen say.

The power line will connect the Hanger substation at Guadalupe Road and the Loop 101 freeway with the Houston Substation on McClintock Road, north of Ray Road.  Linking these two substations will effectively tie together all of the substations in that portion of the SRP power system to help ensure reliability.

Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn has called for a third public meeting to discuss the SRP proposal after two “open house” meetings in late 2005 created more anger than understanding among residents of south Tempe and west Chandler.

Dunn told reporters in December that he still anticipates a third meeting, but no meeting has been scheduled and city officials and SRP’s Harelson agree there is little left to discuss other than details of the project.



















































web site hit counter