CARBON COUNTY – With the initial pulling of wires, the Gateway West Transmission Line Project has finally crossed Interstate 80 just east of the North Platte River at the Fort Steele exit this week. This project has been in the works since 2007. These first wires will be followed by the actual power cables shortly.
This work will continue into late next year with an expected completion date of October 2020, according to Principal Project Manager Rod Fisher.
This 190-mile section is being built from the Aeorlus Substation northwest of Medicine Bow to the Anticline Substation near the Fort Bridger Power Plant at Point of Rocks, where it will be tied in with already existing power lines. It will run parallel to I-80 from Fort Steele to Point of Rocks.
This new line will provide an outlet for “power from (the area’s) existing and future electric resources and will help to expand the regions transmission system.”
This section is the only piece of the larger planned 1,000-mile power line project that is being built at this time. The total project will begin near Glenrock and end near Melba, Idaho. It will be built in sections over the coming years, according to Fisher.
This larger project will come down from Glenrock, to near Medicine Bow and on south to I-80 then west from Fort Steele to Point of Rocks before leaving the highway to travel more directly West toward Kemmerer and on into Idaho.
This project is being built by Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power “to provide electricity to meet increasing customer needs,” according to the company website.
While the cost of this current project was not readily available, these companies are planning to spend some $2.6 billion dollars over the coming years in Wyoming on wind farms and power lines according to Fisher.
As a bit of trivia about these new power towers, there are 551 towers in the new line. They are 140 to 160 feet tall and are placed 1200 to 1500 feet apart. They sit on concrete piers not a pad. These piers are four feet in diameter and fifteen feet deep of steel reinforced concrete.