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
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 http://www.srpnet.com/electric/transmission/hangerhouston.aspx
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
Route E “would be unlikely to be
selected unless the cities committed to
bury it (along Warner and McClintock),”
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
“If we don’t have a decision relatively
soon, we’ll have to build it above
ground initially and bury it later,” he
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
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
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