Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, in cooperation with Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA), will undertake a large-scale vegetation management project this fall along the Blue Mesa/Lake City 115 kila-volt transmission line.
According to Tri-State representative Ted Morris, the project will be two-fold, accomplishing clear cutting
maintenance around the line, as well as protection and stabilization of the power line, something which Morris claims has needed to be done for “many years” and will result in bringing “30 to 40 years of electric line safety to Lake City.”
Two planned outages are scheduled to install and disconnect the mobile transformer needed to perform the work on the power line. On Monday, August 27, from 9 to 11 a.m., a planned outage will affect Lake City and the surrounding area as the mobile transformer is energized.
On October 4, also from 9 to 11 a.m., an outage is planned to de-energize the mobile substation following the completion of maintenance activities.
Maintenance work will begin on August 27 and wrap up by October 10 on the right-of-way. Trees which are removed as part of the project will be stored and processed on a portion of the old Eva Stephenson/Winn Breeden property on the Ball Flats. Processing work on downed trees flown to the site by helicopter is expected to continue until will approximately October 21. Work will not be performed over Labor Day Weekend, Saturday through Monday, September 1 to 3.
According to Morris, maintenance efforts support the reliability of the transmission system and mitigate the risk of damage to the transmission line from wildfires. The project will include repairing electric line structures which date to 1976, replacing equipment and managing vegetation within the right-of-way along the 10-mile section of the transmission line.
Letters have been distributed to residents of the Upper Ball Flats, where helicopters will deliver the felled trees the delivery point — shown in blue on map, below — to be processed and hauled away. Helicopters are necessary due to the ruggedness of the terrain over which the powerline crosses which is inaccessible to mechanical equipment, as well as weight and size of the logs.
Vegetation management and line maintenance activities will typically occur between 7 a.m. and approximately 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but some weekend work may occasionally be required. Wood chips will be available to the public by request by contacting Cathy at Vegetation Management West 970-812-7215.