PacifiCorp construction crews have started building a 135-mi high-voltage transmission line from a new substation near Downey, Idaho, to an existing substation near the Salt Lake City International Airport.

“We are proud to be able to make this important investment in the future for our customers and communities,” said Richard Walje, president of Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp. “In recent years there has been considerable discussion about the nation’s aging infrastructure and the need to invest. Our commitment to deliver these facilities is a clear demonstration of the vision, leadership and financial capability of our company and its owners. This project is critical to provide reliable and economical electric service to our customers.”

“Our commitment to the investments necessary to meet the electric needs of our customers was made when we purchased the company in 2006. This commitment includes the new wind and natural gas generating plants the company has brought on-line, together with the increased transmission and distribution capacity now under construction, ” said Greg Abel, CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, the parent company of PacifiCorp.

The new Populus-to-Terminal transmission line is the first segment in PacifiCorp’s Energy Gateway transmission expansion. Work began at the end-points in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Downey, Idaho, in February, to be in-service by year-end 2010. Once completed, PacifiCorp’s Energy Gateway transmission expansion will help to ensure its two divisions, Rocky Mountain Power and Pacific Power, can serve the long-term electric needs of their customers with a diverse portfolio of generating resources.

The early stages of construction include building access roads and excavation for the concrete foundations to support the transmission structures. As the year progresses, nearly 350 contract employees will work along the line route to complete the project.

The Populus-to-Terminal construction contract was awarded in October 2008 to Populus-Terminal Transmission Partners, A.J.V., a partnership of Black & Veatch Construction Inc., Henkels & McCoy, Inc. and Kiewit Western Co. The joint venture, headquartered near Ogden, Utah, is providing engineering, procurement and construction services.

PacifiCorp continues to work closely with communities, stakeholders and landowners along potential routes of other new transmission lines that are part of the Energy Gateway transmission project in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and in Washington and Oregon.