While utilities in central Nebraska work to repair their storm-ravaged power lines, Omaha Public Power District's Board of Directors yesterday took another step to strengthen its electrical transmission system. The board authorized management to issue a contract for the labor to build a 345-kV transmission line stretching from south of Nebraska City to southwest of Lincoln. The new line is necessary to connect to the power grid a new generating plant being built south of Nebraska City.

The contract will be awarded to Brink Constructors, Inc., of Rapid City, South Dakota, for $7,684,653.80. Construction will begin this year and is scheduled to be finished in May 2008.