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Sycamore residents have questions about ComEd transmission line project

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 4:49 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Jennifer Block is a little worried about her backyard. 

The Sycamore resident is wondering why the area near her property is located is seen as the most viable area for an electric transmission line to pass through. Block, who lives on Davis Drive just inside the Sycamore city limit, has a lot of questions for ComEd.

“I don’t believe they engaged the public,” Block said.

The company is currently developing plans for the Grand Prairie Gateway Project, which, in response to increased demand, calls for a new electric transmission line that will run through Ogle, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties. The project is planned to alleviate the burden on other transmission lines active in the region.

The new transmission line would carry about 345,000 volts of electricity between the substations in Byron and Wayne, and would be supported by about 400 single-pole steel structures.

Block is one of several Sycamore residents worried about the potential routes for the transmission line that will pass through in the northern section of Sycamore. Some of them also feel ComEd hasn’t been open enough about the project. 

ComEd held a series of public meetings during the summer to gather input from residents, government officials and environmental groups. Two open house meetings explaining the project and gathering input from the public were held from 4 to 7 p.m. July 11 and Aug. 15 in Sycamore. 

Block said she understands the need for the transmission lines but doesn’t feel the project has been an open enough process with the community. The public meetings were held during the summer when people were on vacation and during the times of the day when people are at work, she said. 

Paul Callighan, ComEd external affairs manager, said those hours are a good time frame for many people who are not working. If people missed the meetings, he said they can learn more by visiting ComEd’s website on the project or call the company for additional information. 

“We certainly are inviting people to provide their input and feedback and want it to be an open process,” Callighan said. 

Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said ComEd is aware of the city’s preference not to have a transmission line run through northern Sycamore. Callighan said the Illinois Commerce Commission will ultimately decide on the best route. 

“That’s not a preferable route for us, nor for Commonwealth Edison,” Mundy said. “They’re taking into account those workshops and information sessions. They’re taking into account present use and future use of that land.” 

Callighan said the project is not at a stage where routes have been decided and the company still is gathering public input.

Block and another Sycamore resident Susan Bles are concerned the transmission line could negatively affect their property value. Bles, who lives on Plank Road outside Sycamore, said she just renovated her home and is worried about how the transmission line will affect her 10-acre property. 

“My property is right in the middle of their proposed line,” Bles said. 

To learn more about the Grand Prairie Gateway Project, visit ComEd’s website at shawurl.com/qhj or call 877-279-4732.

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