TECO to work on transmission lines

BRANDON, FLORIDA - Tampa Electric Co. plans to conduct maintenance on its existing transmission lines through Gibsonton and Riverview, all the way to Brandon, and add new high-voltage transmission lines north of the Alafia River.

Meetings are being held to give the public more details on the projects.

The work area is between the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach and the State Road 60 substation, which is south of State Road 60 to the west of South Falkenburg Road.

Following complaints about a lack of notification and clarity concerning a project in Ybor City's historic district that replaced wood poles with steel poles, TECO officials said they had taken steps to improve community outreach.

The Big Bend meetings are the first test of the new notification process that includes stamping the word "important" in red on the envelopes. In addition to meeting information posted on TECO's website, the gatherings have been posted on road signs and in newspaper advertisements.

The first segment of work, between Gibsonton Drive and Riverview Drive, crossing the Alafia River, is scheduled to begin next month, TECO will reconfigure the transmission circuits that cross the river by removing three structures on an island. It will then span the river by using taller poles.

TECO spokesman Rick Morera said river access will be limited at specific times. Those closures will be coordinated with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and publicized in advance.

The segment between Gibsonton Drive and the river will include the removal of three transmission structures and construction of five 175-foot-tall steel poles.

"What's out there now on the island and on the south side is lattice structures. We're going to take those out on both the island and on the south side of the river and replace those with single poles," Morera said.

The poles will be taller because of the need to span the entire river, he said.

TECO will conduct similar work between the Alafia River and Riverview Drive, north of the river. Access for TECO work crews will be from Peninsular and Bay drives.

The second part of the project will run from the power plant to Gibsonton Drive between March and mid-November. It will include transmission structure maintenance and installation of new poles and lines.

Phase three runs from Riverview Drive to the State Road 60 substation. It includes reinforcing transmission structure foundations, installing new poles and installing two segments of a 230-kilovolt transmission line, Morera said.



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