With a growing population and growing demand for energy, the LCRA said they need to build more transmission lines to make sure the electric grid doesn’t become strained and potentially fail.
After a year of discussions and testimony, the Texas Public Utility Commission decided where those lines will go.
They will run from a substation in Round Rock, east on 1431, north on Ronald Reagan Boulevard and finally east along Hero Way.
Along the way, they'll connect to two new substations -- one near 1431, the other near Crystal Falls Parkway – to the already existing electric grid.
According to an LCRA spokeswoman, the exact location of each substation may vary slightly after detailed engineering design and after working with the landowners.
"There's always winners and losers in things like this and there's nothing I can do about it at this point,” said Stuart Saint.
Saint lives in a subdivision just off of Ronald Reagan Boulevard. Like many, he doesn't like the idea of the lines close to his home and family.
"You hear a lot about how there's a link between powerlines and cancer, so I've got enough problems to be going on with. I don't want to be worrying about that too," said Saint. "Even though we fought it, it seems like you don't really have that much say in the matter."
But down the line, Chris Webber already lives with these transmission lines in his backyard.
"We've lived here for 18 years, and never had any thoughts about the lines whatsoever," said Webber.
He said they were there when he moved in.
"Never even noticed them, to be totally honest with you,” said Webber.
One of his neighbors told KVUE, she’s had several realtors knock on her door to try to get her to sell her home, because the area where they live, off Sam Bass Road, is so popular.
Now the LCRA will start acquiring land, about 80-foot wide easements along the length of the line. They said some trees in the rural area may have to be removed.
Leander City officials, which is where much of these lines are going, told KVUE they will not appeal the route decision at this time, but said they will work with the LCRA on putting the substation in a location that is the "least disruptive to the property owners."
“The commission's vote is an important milestone toward the construction of this needed electric infrastructure in Williamson County. These projects are very difficult for local communities, and we are extremely appreciative of the support and input we have received from state and local elected officials, many neighborhoods and thousands of landowners who have been involved in this process,” said Bill Lauderback, the LCRA executive vice president for Public Affairs.
According to the LCRA, this is the timeline for the next steps:
- Right of way and Land acquisition: May 2017 - August 18
- Engineering and Design: July 2017 to August 2018
- Material and Equipment Procurement: March 2018 to October 2018
- Construction of Facilities: January 2019 to October 29
- Energize Facilities: December 2019
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