Following a year-long regulatory review, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has given American Transmission Co. final approval for construction of a new electric transmission line from Vienna to Westport, known as the North Madison-Huiskamp project. The proposal for the 8-mile, 138-kV line near Waunakee is needed to accommodate the robust growth in recent years and the increase in electric consumption.

“Waunakee is one of the fastest growing communities in Dane County both in terms of population growth and new business,” said Sarah Justus, local relations representative. “This growth has out-paced the capacity of the area’s existing electric system to deliver reliable electric service.”

The PSC selected the preferred route recommended by ATC, which will run along County Highway I and State Highway 113 between the North Madison Substation in Vienna and the Huiskamp Substation located in the town of Westport. ATC gathered feedback from area residents beginning in 2005 on several possible routes for the proposed line.

“The input we received was very helpful in identifying the most suitable routes for the line,” said Justus. “It’s always a challenge and gathering feedback is an essential part of the process.”

During the next several months, ATC will begin land surveying and soil testing to finalize the design details, as well as starting on the easement acquisition process. According to Justus, the construction of the line won’t begin until next year, but pre-construction activities will begin right away.

“When we get closer to actual construction, we’ll host a pre-construction open house where area residents can learn more about what they can expect to observe during construction.” she said. The project, which is estimated at approximately $15 million, is expected to be placed in service in 2008.

“Approval of this line is good news for the homeowners, businesses and industries that will benefit from a reliable electric system,” said Justus. “We hope that area residents will continue to stay involved as we prepare for construction.”