Through hundreds of thousands of hours of work, the CapX2020 Brookings County to Hampton transmission line project has had no loss time due to an accident.
That streak was challenged this past week when the project began stringing lines in Renville County near the Cedar Mountain substation east of Franklin.
As line work began in the Minnesota River Valley, it was realized the typical procedure of using cranes to install the line was not possible. That meant finding an alternative, and that new plan involved using helicopters for wiring.
At 150 feet in the air, pilots with the steady hands of a surgeon neared each pole. In advance of running the line, the helicopter was used in many places to install the pulleys needed to run the wire.
In those cases, another worker was harnessed to the side of the aircraft and would lean out to install the equipment – again all at 150 feet above the ground.
According to Randy Fordice, CapX2020 communications coordinator, the wiring being installed at this time is what is called lead line.
As the helicopters attach this line it is then connected to the permanent wire and then pulled through with ground-based machinery.
This past Thursday afternoon, a helicopter was flying overhead to put in what is known as the static line, which Fordice said is essentially the protective line for the towers from things such as lightning.
While the wiring is being installed near Franklin, poles continue to be erected as the project heads west.
Fordice said the expectation is to have the poles installed to the Lyon County line by some time in June.
Fordice stressed the company continues to make safety a priority as it continues construction, adding the work being done is conducted in a way to ensure those who are doing it are safe.
More information about the line and its move west can be found at the CapX2020 Web site at www.capx2020.com.