Northeast Missouri residents discuss Mark Twain Transmission Project

Northeast Missouri residents had a chance to learn more about a series of proposed routes for the Mark Twain Transmission Project.

A new transmission line will soon be coming to the Heartland and northeast Missouri residents had a chance to learn more about it and voice their concerns at a meeting in Kirksville Tuesday evening.

Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois plans to build a 345,000 volt line from Palmyra to the Iowa border, with a new substation located in Kirksville.

"One of the good pieces of news for this is that this is a regional project. Because it's a regional project, the region gets to help pay for the project. So it's not just Missouri that has to pay for this 100 miles of line, it's all of the Mid-Continent ISO. Missouri has to pick up about 8 percent of the cost of the total project, for that amount of this project we estimate the average, typical homeowner is going to pay about eight cents a month for this additional project,â?? said Peggy Ladd, Manager of Transmission and Business Development for Ameren.

Although there will be a slight increase in rates for Ameren customers, Ladd explains that there are many benefits that the new transmission line will provide.

"There's a benefit right off the bat for the construction alone. So as we go out and do construction we expect it's going to take about 200 people to build this line. About two people for every mile of the line and we're expecting about 100 miles, so that's a lot of work, and we try to use local workers where we can,â?? said Ladd. "The other thing that's going to happen is our local residents will get access to that cost effective generation, so the access to renewables, which may or may not be cost effective by the way, but a lot of people prefer to use renewables. It improves our overall grid security as well, that's another good thing. I don't think you can put a price on how much reliability is, but I think every day we can keep the power on is good for everybody, businesses, homes, schools, everybody benefits from reliable power."

The company has not yet determined the final route for the transmission line, but a series of proposed routes were up for discussion at Tuesdayâ??s meeting.

"We want to be solid in our determination so we come out to these meetings and we talk to people. We also talk to the general public, because this impacts people. This is going across farmland, and near, to some extent, homes. We want to make sure that we impact people the least amount possible so that we can get what I call, the smartest route. That's our goal: what's the smartest route? It's a function of the route itself, a function of the cost of that route, and it's a function of how people are minimally impacted. That's what we're going to find out today,â?? said Ladd

After speaking with residents at a series of meetings in Kirksville, Palmyra and Newark, Ameren representatives hope to narrow the options down to two final routes by the end of October. Residents will then have an opportunity to review those routes and ask further questions during another series of public meetings during the last week of October.

"We hope to have that route determined by the end of the year. Once that route is determined, then we can schedule the rest of the rest of our planning MISO has told us they'd like this project and service by 2018, so our Project Manager certainly has a big project ahead of him, but there's a lot of pieces that have to fall into place, and the first piece is to get that route determined,â?? said Ladd.

If you are unable to make it to any of the public meetings Ameren is holding a map of the proposed routes can be found here and you can submit your comments and concerns by filling out this online form.