Routing for Overhead Transmission

Location: Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas

Client: American Electric Power

Completion Date: 2014

American Electric Power (AEP) retained Burns & McDonnell to conduct a routing study for an overhead transmission line. The transmission line would extend from McCurtain County, Okla., to Bowie County, Texas. The study area also included portions of Little River and Sevier counties in Arkansas and Red River County, Texas. The 345-kV transmission line would incorporate single pole structures.

  • Routing studies
  • Environmental assessment
  • GIS analysis
  • CCN application support
  • CECPN application support
  • Expert testimony

AEP intends to construct approximately 75 miles of new 345-kV transmission line. The new 345-kV line will connect the existing Valliant Substation in McCurtain County, Okla., to the existing Northwest Texarkana Substation in Bowie County, Texas. These lines are intended to transfer additional electricity to AEP's customers and strengthen the regional transmission system. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has requested an estimated in-service date of October 2014 for the Valliant to Northwest Texarkana project.

Burns & McDonnell developed alternative routes and made route recommendations based on a route analysis. Burns & McDonnell prepared an environmental assessment and alternative route analysis to support an application for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) from the Public Utility Commission of Texas as well as a potential Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Necessity (CECPN) with the Arkansas Public Service Commission. In addition, our project manager will provide expert testimony at the hearings before the commission.

Major features considered in developing the routes: 

  • Maximize distances from residences
  • Avoid dense residential development
  • Parallel existing lines, railways and roadways
  • Follow property, fence and field lines where practicable
  • Avoid irrigated lands where practicable
  • Avoid crossing parks and wildlife areas
  • Avoid crossing state and federal lands
  • Avoid airports
  • Avoid crossing ponds
  • Minimize woodland clearing

The study area included three states. While it was not measured during the route analysis, there would be additional issues for routes crossing into Arkansas as well as Oklahoma and Texas. A Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Necessity (CECPN) would be submitted to the Arkansas Public Service Commission if the final route were to be in Arkansas.