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Crews work on Mark Twain Transmission Line from a helicopter

Work is moving forward on the Mark Twain Transmission Line that stretches across Northeast Missouri from Palmyra to Kirksville.

“It’s kinda a unique task so there’s a lot of laser focus and precision about what has to happen. There’s a lot of preparation on the ground before,” said Ameren Transmission Construction Supervisor Chuck Twellmann.

Tuesday, hanging from a helicopter, crews worked on stringing the new power lines from tower to tower. They say working from the air is more efficient.

“We don’t have to move trucks and set trucks up at these different locations and get these big cranes at these locations so that’s faster,” said Twellmann. “Again, today it’s relatively dry but it won’t take a whole lot of rain to make these nice farm fields we are in turn into decent mud. We don’t want to create any more of a disturbance than what we have to.”

Construction on the nearly 100-mile long project started last year.

“We’re going from Palmyra to Kirksville and then from Kirksville all the way to Iowa and then Iowa Utilities take it up to Ottumwa,” said project manager Jim Jontry.

And officials said these towers are a big upgrade from the wooden structures that used to stand where they now are.

“It’s hard to see from a customer perspective but when you have congestion in a transmission network, it creates sometimes artificial price increases. This helps keep those prices down,” said Jontry.

Meanwhile, depending on weather, the daring work from the sky could continue for a few more weeks.

To pave the way for the project, Ameren had to have the necessary right of way to build the transmission line.

Ameren officials said the towers they’re building are replacing old wooden structures on existing right of way that Northeast Power had.

Even so, officials said they still met with landowners along the transmission route to make sure their concerns were addressed.

“Those steal monopole structures are a greater ease than the h-frame and they have a higher clearance to farm around and get their equipment around very easily,” said Leah Dettmers.

Officials expect the entire transmission project to be complete and in service by the end of the year.

If you would like more information on the project, click here to read FAQs about the Mark Twain Transmission Project

Brett Knese

Multi-Media Journalist at WGEM News.

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