Avon-to-Gilman power line public comment period extended | VailDaily.com

Avon-to-Gilman power line public comment period extended

Original public comment period expired April 1; no dates announced yet for new comment period

The White River National Forest will provide a second 30-day comment period for Holy Cross Energy’s proposed Avon-to-Gilman 115-kV Electric Transmission Line project.

The second comment period responds to widespread requests from the public for more time to provide input on the proposal. The White River National Forest heard multiple concerns that the current COVID-19 virus crisis and public safety mitigation measures were limiting the public’s ability to provide meaningful input in the first comment period that closed April 1.

The Forest Service will open the second comment period later in 2020, once the draft Environmental Assessment is available for public review. Although no specific dates are scheduled due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, a mid- to late summer 2020 timeline is probable.

“The White River National Forest is determined to ensure that the public has sufficient opportunity to let us know their thoughts regarding this important project,” Adam Bianchi, Acting Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger, said. “Public input is essential for guiding environmental analyses and making good, appropriate decisions. We appreciate those who have taken the time to provide us with comments, and we look forward to receiving additional input later this year in response to the draft Environmental Assessment.”

In addition to the recent public feedback, the public input received during the second comment period will further assist the forest in finalizing the Environmental Analysis and reaching a final decision. Through the development of the analysis, the Forest Service will analyze the potential effects of issuing a Special Use Authorization to Holy Cross Energy to construct the transmission line on National Forest System lands. 

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The proposed action includes: construction of new power structures along 8.9 miles of new transmission line; right-of-way clearing and hazard tree removal; conductor stringing and splicing work; staging and construction access; and minor maintenance and patrolling. 

About three miles of the transmission line is anticipated to be placed underground, and the remainder of the transmission line would be constructed on overhead transmission structures. If approved, construction would take approximately eight months and occur during late spring through fall when weather conditions are favorable. The decision would also authorize the use of existing and new access roads for any associated construction and future maintenance activities.

Additional project information can be found on the White River National Forest website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57224.

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