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ComEd plans Grand Prairie Gateway Project route unveiling

SYCAMORE – ComEd is winnowing down the routes for a new electric transmission line and will debut them at public meetings next week. 

ComEd has been hosting waves of open house meetings since July to gather public input on the Grand Prairie Gateway Project. ComEd officials plan to build a power line across four counties, including DeKalb, to connect substations in Byron and Wayne.

ComEd spokesman David O’Dowd said the primary and alternate routes for the power line haven’t been settled yet, but will be ready to be presented at open houses taking place this month in Rochelle, St. Charles and Sycamore. 

“It’s been a very positive, robust dialogue, as it should be, and we are confident we will indeed meet the goals of the project and reflect the input of the communities we serve,” he said.

The power line will carry about 345,000 volts of electricity and could be supported by about 400 single-pole steel structures, ComEd says.

PJM Interconnection, an independent regional transmission grid operator, identified the need for the transmission line between Byron in the west and Wayne in the east to relieve congestion in the transmission system, according to a ComEd news release. Congestion limits the amount of electricity that can be delivered to an area. 

“By relieving the congestion, it will protect customers from the cost increases that congestion creates,” he said.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said city officials were invited to participate in ComEd’s stakeholder meetings for the past two months. 

He said they have been engaged with ComEd in the process of sharing land use plans and addressing any concerns Sycamore residents may have, such as the transmission line being close to neighborhoods.

“ComEd has been receptive

and has been willing to listen to our feedback,” Gregory said.

The concept of congestion has been important to get across to the public, O’Dowd said. ComEd officials compared congestion in a transmission system to highways without enough lanes. Transmission lines with insufficient capacity become congested. 

In an effort to better educate people about the Grand Prairie Gateway Project, the public meetings have been extended by one hour. 

O’Dowd said it’s important to openly engage the public with a project and discuss any issues, environmental or otherwise. He said he believes the public discussion over the project has been straightforward. 

“The process has been robust as it is to create a solution and help arrive at a route that will enable ComEd to meet the goals of the project and minimizing impact on residents and communities,” he said.

The routes for the transmission line will require approval by the Illinois Commerce Commission after public input has been gathered. ComEd plans to request approval of the routes by the end of the year and the ICC has up to 225 days to approve of the final routes. 

The project is expected to be completed and begin service by June 2017, according to ComEd’s website.

If you go

What: Grand Prairie Gateway Project open house
When: 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10
Where: DeKalb County Farm Bureau, 1350 W. Prairie Drive, Sycamore

For information, click here.

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