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SRP selects 101 as its 'prefered' 69-kV route
Talks progress on burying lines
By Doug Snover

December 17, 2005

Salt River Project’s “preferred route” for a new 69-kilovolt power line through south Tempe is along the west side of the Loop 101 freeway from Guadalupe Road to Ray Road, and the utility is negotiating with Tempe and Chandler officials on the cost of burying the line in the freeway corridor between Warner and Ray roads, a utility spokesman says.

The “Option F” route would use new power poles to carry the line along the north side of Ray Road from Loop 101 west to the Houston substation just north of Ray Road at McClintock Drive.

Four of the six possible routes for the controversial power line have been dropped due to intense citizen opposition, according to SRP spokesman Scott Harelson. A fifth route option is “barely” alive, he said.

For a link to the map of proposed routes, visit

Route options A, B, C and D all would have strung new lines along McClintock Road in an area where there are no existing power poles.

Those routes “are no longer on the table,” Harelson said this week.

Harelson also said “we’re not in heavy discussions” on Route E, which would use Warner Road to carry the power line from the Loop 101 freeway corridor to McClintock.

Route E “would be unlikely to be selected unless the cities committed to bury it (along Warner and McClintock),” Harelson said.

That leaves Option F as SRP’s “preferred route,” Harelson confirmed.

SRP still hopes to choose a route by early January and decide what sections will be buried, Harelson said.

Delays could force SRP to string a temporary line overhead along the chosen route to meet the utility’s deadline of having the new power line ready by summer 2007, he said.

“We want to make a decision soon ... in early January at the latest,” Harelson said.

“If we don’t have a decision relatively soon, we’ll have to build it above ground initially and bury it later,” he said.

Hundreds of Tempe and Chandler residents attended two “open house” meetings in November to protest SRP’s proposal to string the new power line along city streets past residential areas.

Elected officials and city staffers from both communities have been negotiating with SRP to use the utility’s “aesthetics fund” to bury part or all of the high-voltage line.

SRP says it will bury 69-kV power lines only if the affected communities pay the cost, estimated at about $3 million per mile, or about 10 times the cost of stringing the lines on poles.

Harelson said if SRP is forced to string a temporary line to meet its demand for electricity in summer 2007, the utility and cities likely would sign a memorandum of understanding that obligates SRP to eventually bury the line.

Under the evolving proposal, SRP would erect power poles along the west edge of the Loop 101 Freeway from the Hanger substation at Guadalupe Road south to Warner Road. The 69-kV line would be buried between Warner and Ray roads, then would be strung on “double-circuit” power poles on the north side of Ray Road west to McClintock.

No decision has been made on whether the line would be buried on the short link from Ray Road to the Houston substation just north of Ray Road on McClintock, according to Harelson.

SRP and the cities are not discussing burying the power line in the Loop 101 corridor between Guadalupe and Warner roads because of cost, Harelson said.

Burying the line between Warner and Ray roads would add an estimated $3 million or more to the project cost, he said.

Harelson declined to comment on reports that Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn has asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would force the utility to bury the proposed power line where it runs through Chandler, except to say that SRP created its “aesthetics fund” in 1989 to set aside money from its construction projects that communities could use to minimize the visual impact of new power lines and substations.

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.










































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