BPA proposes to rebuild the Kalispell-Kerr 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Flathead and Lake counties, Montana. This 41-mile long transmission line is owned and operated by BPA. The line begins at the BPA Kalispell Substation and ends at the BPA Kerr Substation, approximately 4 miles southwest of the city of Polson (see project map below). The rebuild is needed because the transmission line, which was built in 1947, is old and the existing wood-pole structures and electrical wires (conductors) show normal deterioration due to age. Rebuilding this transmission line would enable BPA to continue to provide reliable electric power to local utilities.
The project would include replacing wood-pole transmission structures, associated structural components, and conductors. The wood-pole transmission structures consist of either two or three wood poles. The existing structures would be replaced with structures of similar design within or near to their existing locations. Some existing access roads would need to be improved to provide construction access and some new access roads may be needed to access structures for which BPA currently does not have adequate access. The rebuilt transmission line would continue to operate at 115-kV.
A letter about the project was sent to adjacent landowners, Tribes, government agencies, and other potentially affected or concerned interest groups. Public meetings were held June 17 and 18, 2013, and the public comment period ended June 28, 2013. Field work will be taking place to help BPA determine what natural resources may be affected by the proposed project.
A preliminary environmental assessment (EA) is being drafted to identify potential impacts to the natural and human environment from the proposed project and will be released for public comment in 2014. Based on the analysis in the EA and comments received, BPA will prepare either a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) and decide whether to proceed with the project, or an environmental impact statement (EIS) if there is the potential for significant environmental impacts. Project road design is currently being developed.