The city of Black River Falls requested some changes to the easement for the ATC Badger Coulee Transmission Line that is going through parts of Black River Falls at the monthly Common Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 1.

The ATC Badger Coulee Transmission Line project is a 180-mile line that stretches from Holmen to Blair and then across to Black River Falls and then follows Interstate 94 to Dane County. The line is expected to be operational in the fall of 2018.

Most of the changes centered around section six of the power line that stretches between Black River Falls and Blair, including a segment that goes past Skyline Golf Course.

“I had a conversation with the management of Skyline because its easement goes right over part of hole number six. We want to be very diligent in the language that we include in the easement on what was going to be allowed out there is what they were going to be responsible for,” said Brad Chown, administrator for Black River Falls.

For Mike Millis, the general manager for Skyline Golf Course, the construction phase is his biggest concern.

“The main concern was if they were going to cause any damage to the course and if so, who was going to repair it. They assured us that it will be very minimal damage and they were going to cover it 100 percent,” Millis said.

After construction, Millis expects the new layout to actually be better for the golf course because no power lines will be going over the greens.

“It is going to be a benefit because right now the power lines go right over top of green number six and tee box number seven. On occasion the golfers will hit the line on a drive on number seven, and now what they are doing is cutting it off right before it crosses the golf course. It is going to affect a very small amount of the course and it is going to be out of play,” Millis said explaining that ATC will be taking out the power lines that currently run through the golf course.

The board approved making several changes to the proposed transmission line easement including changing the language so that the city would maintain the vegetation in the right of way at Skyline and that ATC would not be allowed to apply herbicides in that area.

The board also requested for ATC to be responsible to repair the area to its original condition if disturbed and to pay the golf course for any lost revenue while undergoing construction.

“One of the support poles is actually going to be fairly close to a cart path near hole six, so we have asked them for construction to take place between late November and March 1 in that area so the golf course is closed,” Chown said.

Millis is so far happy with the progress, “They have been very helpful and very understanding of our needs.”

Clearing trees in the right-of-ways and easement areas is set to begin in late August between Black River Falls and Blair.

“We are planning to do grading and protective construction mat placement as well as right of way clearing at the end of this month. We are anticipating doing some foundation work in the fall,” said Kaya Freiman, spokesperson for ATC. Pole setting and wire stringing will be after that is completed.

The city is also expected to get a one-time, $55,018 environmental fee from ATC for the easement, plus an annual fee of $6,602. The city is planning on using the fees to pay for streets and/or public use.

The Common Council also discussed the Road Repair Reimbursement Agreement because ATC will be using the streets in Black River Falls while constructing the line. The agreement states that ATC will have a company come in before and after construction to record the condition of the roads so that damage can be assessed.

“My concern is any long impact on that, where something appears to be wrong with the road that can be linked back to heavy traffic across that street during construction,” Chown said explaining why he feels language should be added to the agreement.

The council voted to add additional language that would allow the city to bill ATC for long-term damages.

“We are actively working with the city. It is a negotiation and coordinating for construction activities,” Freiman said.

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Editor

Jordan is the editor of the Jackson County Chronicle. He was born-and-raised in Taylor, Wis. and now he and his family live in Alma Center, Wis. Contact him at 715-284-0085.

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