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250-mile transmission line to Grand Forks completed

The last wires for a 250-mile transmission line to Grand Forks were strung last week, marking the end of major construction on the massive project.

Minnkota Power Cooperative’s 345-kilovolt line spans from near Center, N.D., to Grand Forks, where the co-op is based. The $353 million project began construction more than two years ago, according to a news release.

The line will help Minnkota meet needs for future growth, company officials said. The reassignment of an existing transmission line also means more transmission facilities are needed.

“A 345-kV transmission line can be compared to an interstate highway system,” project manager Mike Hennes said in a statement. “Once built, the bulk flow of electricity moves to the new line, which frees up capacity on the underlying system.”

“The crews worked safely in difficult conditions and my hat is off to all who participated in the planning, design, permitting and construction of this challenging project,” he added.

The new line will be energized later this month after some testing, according to company spokesman Kevin Fee. Some restoration work, which includes cleaning up materials, also remains, he said.

The Center-to-Grand-Forks Project is the longest line in state history that begins and ends within North Dakota, according to the news release, and is the largest capital investment Minnkota has ever made in transmission facilities.

Minnkota serves 34,500 square miles in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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