Work continues on $640 million high-voltage power line from Mapleton to Twin Cities

Source: By Patrick Springer, Fargo Forum • Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The new CapX2020 transmission line are seen looking east toward Barnesville, Minn. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO – Work continues on the $640 million CapX2020 high-voltage power line that will connect a new substation near Mapleton to the Twin Cities early next year.

Crews have strung transmission line from Monticello west of the Twin Cities to Alexandria, Minn., and also recently completed a stretch of line from Barnesville to Interstate 29, one of several segments on the 242-mile project.

“We’re not quite to Fergus (Falls) yet stringing wire” from Alexandria, said Timothy Carlsgaard, a spokesman for Xcel Energy and the CapX2020 project.

Installation of the power line from Alexandria to Fargo is about 30 percent complete, he said.

A contractor is installing devices on the 20-mile segment between Barnesville to I-29 to prevent “galloping,” potentially damaging wave-like movements on power lines caused by certain wind and ice conditions.

The so-called “interphase spacers” are 25-foot rods that hang vertically to prevent the wave-like action. Four spacers will be placed between poles on about 75 miles of transmission line between St. Cloud and Fargo.

The contractor installing the spacers between Barnesville and I-29 expects to complete the work in September, Carlsgaard said.

The CapX2020 project, a partnership of several electric utilities and cooperatives, includes 35 miles of transmission lines in North Dakota.

Installation of transmission line on the new Bison Substation, located four miles north of Mapleton, and into Minnesota is expected to begin in early fall.

“We’ll be back around Oct. 1, maybe a little bit earlier, depending on the weather,” Carlsgaard said. The project is expected to be finished around April 2015.

The new 345-kilovolt transmission line has 180 poles in North Dakota, placed on concrete foundations sunk deeply into the ground.

Crews still have 64 pole foundations to pour in North Dakota, work slated to start about Oct. 1, Carlsgaard said. “That should be done by early fall.”

Work will continue through winter. Frozen ground actually facilitates work in marshy terrain, he said.

The new line will improve reliability of electrical service in Fargo and will help to move power from North Dakota wind farms and, during winter, from Minnesota power plants to Fargo, he said.