Minnkota transmission line work progressing
Assembly of the final transmission line structures in Oliver County for Minnkota Power’s Center to Grand Forks Project transmission line will soon be complete. The foundations are complete and tower bases have been erected; construction contractor Michels Corporation is working to finish placing the top sections of the towers.
The structures are assembled in three parts—bases, mid-sections and tops, which are hoisted in place using track cranes. Once the structures are in place, the transmission line is strung. The mid and top sections of the remaining structures have been hauled to their locations and framed, which includes mounting the tower arms and hanging the insulators before the structures are set. The mid and top sections are bolted together and set on the bases in one operation.
“We’re trying to get all the poles set—we have about 15 to 20 left to do,” Michels Corporation Senior Project Manager Randy Bassette said earlier this week. “Then we’ll shut the wire works down until after spring thaw, when the road restrictions are lifted and we can come back in.”
Michels is completing structure erection while the ground is still frozen to reduce damage to land and roads. The frozen ground reduces impact to land and gravel roads from construction traffic, as it holds up better to truck and heavy equipment travel.
While the North Dakota winter weather has been an advantage for land impacts, it has created challenges in other areas. Work has been suspended due to cold temperatures and high winds, which cause safety issues for crane and helicopter operation.