PALMYRA, Mo. -- Public comment is being sought on the proposed new route for the 100-mile Mark Twain Transmission Project across five counties in Northeast Missouri.
Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois, the Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative and Ameren Missouri have announced plans to host a series of open houses in four Northeast Missouri communities next week.
The meetings are designed to let the public and affected landowners learn more about the proposed route and offer their feedback.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
º Tuesday: Palmyra Middle School gym, 5 to 8 p.m. with presentation at 6 p.m.
º Wednesday: Knox County Elementary School in Edina, 5 to 8 p.m. with presentation at 6 p.m.
º Thursday: Kirksville Middle School auditorium, 5 to 8 p.m. with presentation at 6 p.m.
º Friday, June 16: Schuyler County Middle School gym in Queen City, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with presentation at 11 a.m.
ATXI originally proposed building its 345,000-volt transmission line from Palmyra to Kirksville -- and then on into Iowa -- by acquiring new right-of-way in portions of Marion, Knox, Shelby, Adair and Schuyler counties. However, this plan met with fierce opposition from landowners and resulted in a series of lawsuits.
Then on May 1, ATXI announced a proposed new route, with 90 percent of it following the right-of-way of existing power lines maintained by Northeast Power and Ameren Missouri.
The new route would bypass Shelby County altogether while taking in part of southern Lewis County.
By using existing right-of-way for most of the project, ATXI would avoid having to acquire so much new right-of-way, though it will still have to acquire about 12 miles in Marion and Adair counties to complete the needed connections.
ATXI is now seeking feedback from landowners in the five counties. According to a press release from Ameren, landowners can offer comments by calling 877-830-3440 or emailing email@example.com to schedule a one-on-one meeting; by completing an online survey at marktwaintransmission.com; or by attending one of the open houses.
Since announcing the proposed new route, ATXI and Northeast Power officials have been meeting with county commissions and other key stakeholders in the region. The Adair County Commission subsequently asked ATXI to consider reconfiguring a portion of the route through the county. As a result, ATXI and Northeast Power are now seeking input on three new route options south of Kirksville. A proposal to move the proposed location of a new substation is also being considered.
ATXI officials say the Mark Twain Transmission Project would help generate economic growth in Northeast Missouri and lead to more than $3 million in additional tax revenue each year to support schools and other public entities in the five counties.
If everything goes as planned, construction on the new transmission line could begin in 2018 and be completed by December 2019.
More information is available at marktwaintransmission.com.