Idaho Falls Power Begins Major 161kv Powerline Construction
Project Will Provide Essential Power Service Capabilities and System Redundancy Across Eastern Idaho
A power project more than four decades in the making is getting underway in Idaho Falls that will improve power transmission capacity and provide critical redundancy to the power system throughout Idaho Falls and across east Idaho.
Originally conceptualized in the 1980’s, Idaho Falls Power (IFP) started examining routing options and public outreach to determine the best routes for the second half of a major 161kv power line built along the southern portion of Idaho Falls.
In 2011 IFP paused work on the project as the utility addressed legal challenges and focused on working with landowners to pursue additional land acquisitions and rights-of way for the 14-mile-long project.
“Obviously this is a large and critically important project for Idaho Falls and the surrounding area,” said Idaho Falls Power General Manager Bear Prairie. “Our residents and businesses depend on our ability to provide stable and reliable sources of power. We can produce all the energy in the world, but without a way to transmit that power to our customers, it’s of no value. This project provides a must needed key element to a reliable power system to carry energy to critical areas of growth in and around the city.”
In 2017, IFP partnered with Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) on the project to make it a dual use line that will also serve the growing needs of RMP customers. In addition to circling Idaho Falls to the north, RMP will also build an additional line that will improve service to their customers in Eastern Idaho.
The line will provide critical transmission upgrades and service capabilities for IFP customer’s around the rapidly growing north and west side of Idaho Falls. The line will connect to the existing Sugarmill substation along Hitt Road and extend north across Lincoln and Yellowstone. The line will cross over U.S. Highway 20 near 25th then travel to the west and across the Snake River.
The power line will then connect to a new IFP substation, which is also currently under construction, near Idahoan Foods and the Upper Power Plant off of West River Road in the northwest area of Idaho Falls along the Snake River.
Summit Line Construction, the contractor for the project, has been drilling holes along the new route in order to provide foundations for the new poles to be installed. Concrete pouring for those foundations will begin soon, and installation of the poles should begin sometime in the next six to 12 weeks, depending on conditions.
IFP anticipates that the project will be completed and ready for service by this fall.
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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer, Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306 or at [email protected].
About Idaho Falls Power: Idaho Falls Power is a municipal electric utility serving the corporate city limits of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The City has operated the utility continuously since its establishment in 1900. Learn more on our website.