Work begins to bury transmission lines through Midtown
Next week, Xcel Energy crews will begin work to place high-voltage transmission lines beneath Hiawatha Avenue. The Hiawatha Transmission Project is a two-year effort that will involve putting utility cables underground through the Midtown area of Minneapolis. Some street and lane closures will be needed at Hiawatha Avenue and along the 1.5-mile route on 28th Street. Although Xcel Energy initially considered hanging the lines above the Midtown Greenway among its options, the City worked to make the case that those power lines should be placed underground and away from this popular bike and walking trail.
Burying power lines is consistent with the City’s expectations about how Minneapolis will develop in the future. It also reflects the value the City places on neighborhood livability and aesthetics since placing the lines underground avoids visual pollution and protects property values and the potential for future development in the greenway corridor.
Street construction starts at Hiawatha Avenue, between 26th Street and Lake Street. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, there will be no access to and from northbound Hiawatha at 28th Street and Lake Street, and some lanes will be closed on Hiawatha. A full closure of Hiawatha between 26th Street and Lake Street will then begin at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, and will remain in place until 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22. All drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians should follow posted detour routes. (Bicyclists and pedestrians will still be able to cross Hiawatha at 28th Street.)
Once Hiawatha Avenue reopens, Xcel Energy construction crews will begin working on 28th Street just west of Hiawatha. There will be rolling lane closures on the street in two- to three-block sections, working westward and reopening as sections are completed. Local access to homes and businesses will be maintained during these lane closures, with detours in place for all through traffic. Updates on this construction will be posted on Xcel Energy’s Hiawatha Project page: www.xcelenergy.com/hiawathaproject.
In addition to the new transmission lines, Xcel Energy will be constructing two new electricity substations: one on the east side of Hiawatha Avenue, and the other along Oakland Avenue near the Midtown Greenway. Xcel Energy has been working with the community to help make the Midtown substation blend in with the neighborhood. Crews will be working through the winter months, with all construction wrapping up in October 2014.
Xcel Energy is hosting an open house to share information about the upcoming construction on 28th Street.
Xcel Energy open house on 28th Street construction
Tues. Oct. 30, 5 – 7 p.m.
Plaza Verde, 1516 E Lake St.
The start of the Hiawatha Transmission Project follows the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decision earlier this year to require Xcel Energy to bury the new Hiawatha Midtown Transmission line instead of other options, including placing them above the Midtown Greenway. Mayor R.T. Rybak and the City Council passed a resolution in 2009 that backed putting the cables underground if it was determined that the additional Xcel Energy lines were in fact needed and were not avoidable through energy conservation and renewable energy sources.
For project information from Xcel Energy, visit www.xcelenergy.com/hiawathaproject.
Published Oct. 5, 2012