The process to expand the transmission line grid in Williamson County began in 2013. There’s still no route decision today.
A spokesman for the LCRA told the Texas Public Utility Commission Thursday that the need for more lines is “critical” as the county continues to grow. He said the current population exceeds what they predicted a few years ago.
But throughout the process, it’s clear everyone can agree they need more of these lines, but also homeowners throughout the county agree, they don’t want the lines in their backyard.
"Nobody wants a power line in front of them, I don't care who you are,” said Brad Bookmyer.
"We definitely don't want those in our backyard, but nobody does, and it’s unfortunate that this process in a way has put neighbor against neighbor," said Kristina Swan.
At the Public Utilities Commission Meeting Thursday, dozens of Williamson County residents made their voices heard, including Bookmyer and Swan.
"Everybody knows this is needed, it just trying to figure out the best place for it to be,” said Swan.
"This is our last chance to hopefully get a reasonable decision on where these power lines are chosen to run,” said Bookmyer.
The goal of the project is to connect a new substation in or near Leander to the current transmission lines in Round Rock.
Two of the popular proposed routes would either run along County Road 175 -- or along Ronald Reagan Blvd – both North of 1431.
"We support the route called COL 1 which runs along Country Road 175," said Swan.
Swan lives in the Caballo Ranch neighborhood along Ronald Reagan Boulevard and wants the lines over on County road 175.
"We feel like it would best meet the future development and economic needs of our community,” said Swan.
Brad and Kelsey Bookmyer live along County Road 175, and want the lines on Ronald Reagan Boulevard. They tell KVUE they’re worried about decreasing property values and their family.
"This is the route that we feel like would be the best decision and obviously its the route that doesn't go down the road in front of our house,” said Kelsey Bookmyer. "No reasonable person would think that’s a great place to raise my family under a giant humongous power line.”
"We’re going to do all we can to fight it to put it where we think the most reasonable place should be,” said Bookmyer.
The process is something Jim Bagwell knows a lot about.
"I would say each section is about 35 feet,” said Bagwell as he showed KVUE the tall pole in his backyard.
Crews installed a transmission line in his backyard about 5 years ago.
"I would say there was probably 10 or 15 guys here every day with all the heavy equipment and the boom trucks,” said Bagwell. "They were in here for several weeks."
While the initial height was shocking, he says he's gotten used to it.
"It' doesn't bother me that much,” said Bagwell. "If they want the growth, they've got to have the utilities to go with it.”
But for now, the homeowners in West Williamson County are a little worried.
"Stressed for sure,” said Brad Bookmyer.
“Yeah can you tell, I'm crying,” said Kelsey Bookmyer.
"It's a shame that sometimes it comes down to the best worst choice,” said Swan.
The Public Utilities Commission doesn't have to choose one of these proposed routes, they could still create their own.
They decided to talk about it again at their next meeting on May 18th and decide at that time.
The L-C-R-A plans to start acquiring the land immediately after a decision is made.
They hope to build the lines in 2019, and have them up and running by the end of that year.
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