ITC Great Plains, LLC has completed route selection for its Hugo-to-Valliant high-voltage electric transmission line project. As part of ongoing community outreach efforts, ITC representatives are working with affected landowners along the route to complete survey work.

Prior to route selection, ITC Great Plains met with community leaders and local officials to discuss the benefits of the project and request their support. The 19-mile Hugo-to-Valliant 345-kV line is part of a larger transmission line project being implemented in southeastern Oklahoma to reduce system congestion, provide more efficient and cost-effective transmission of energy and increase access to a broader range of generation resources.

ITC conducted a preliminary route study and developed three potential corridors through portions of Choctaw and McCurtain counties. In an effort to seek community input, ITC presented the routes to landowners and community representatives at open house events in Fort Towson on Dec. 7 and Valliant on Dec. 8.

During and following those events, ITC received input from more than 70 landowners and other interested parties regarding the potential routes. Those comments were taken into consideration during development of the final route, which is designed to minimize impacts to residents, their land and the natural environment while providing a technically viable and cost-effective transmission line.

"We have worked very closely with state and local officials, community and business leaders, landowners and other interested parties during the development our first project as a new utility in Oklahoma," said Carl Huslig, president of ITC Great Plains. "The support and feedback we've received has been very helpful in guiding our design efforts. The result is a new route that combines elements of the initial routes with some redirection intended to minimize the impacts of the line on residents and their properties."

Following completion of survey work, ITC representatives will finalize right-of-way easements with affected property owners. The line will run from a new substation that ITC will build near the Western Farmers Electric Cooperative Hugo Power Plant west of Fort Towson to an existing substation southeast of Valliant. Construction is projected to begin during the second quarter of 2011. The project is scheduled to enter service by the end of March 2012.