What’s Up With the New Power Lines In Sturgeon Bay?

Visitors to Door County may be jarred by the new welcome mat they find as they cross Sturgeon Bay’s Bayview Bridge.

Waiting for them along the Hwy 42/57 bypass is a new line of industrial, rust-colored transmission towers installed by the American Transmission Company (ATC).

The huge rust-colored power poles that rose along Highway 42/57 in Sturgeon Bay also raised a lot of questions this summer. The new line will double electrical capacity to Northern Door.

The new $25 million, 138,000 volt transmission line will connect the canal substation in Sturgeon Bay to the Dunn Road substation in the town of Sevastopol, When completed, it will double the capacity of the old 69,000 volt line that runs along the same corridor, shoring up electric service to Northern Door, said ATC Communications Consultant Jackie Olson.

The new infrastructure towers over the existing line.

“They’re built to that height to provide the proper clearance between the 69,000 volt line and the 138,000 volt line,” Olson said. She said the towers are designed to be less obtrusive on the landscape than the old 4-post, lattice-style steel towers that were once standard.

“These are monopole, weatherized steel poles that don’t require painting,” she said. “They acquire a weathered look as they age. This tends to blend better into rural areas, and has less of a footprint on cropland.”

The project has been in the works since 2004, when electric use in Northern Door was growing at a faster rate than the rest of the state. The new line gained regulatory approval in 2010.

The company worked with Crossroads at Big Creek to combat invasive species and build an Osprey nesting platform on one of its towers. Olson said the project should be completed this winter, with land restoration work to continue in the spring of 2012.