The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) announced Sept. 21 that it has given the go-ahead to American Electric Power to build a 138-kilovolt electric transmission line that will run along Lane Avenue through Upper Arlington.

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) announced Sept. 21 that it has given the go-ahead to American Electric Power to build a 138-kilovolt electric transmission line that will run along Lane Avenue through Upper Arlington.

The transmission line will run six miles from AEP's Roberts Substation on Scioto and Darby Creek Road and follow Lane Avenue to the Ohio State University campus. The $30-million project is intended to improve reliability and provide additional electrical capacity for customers in northwest Columbus.

At a July 14 public hearing at the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, six residents testified about concerns that construction would be disruptive and that new utility poles might be unsightly.

On July 17, AEP, the city of Upper Arlington and OPSB staff filed an agreement to settle concerns raised at the July 14 hearing. The agreement, approved by OPSB on Sept. 21, authorizes the construction of the transmission line along the Lane Avenue route, subject to 24 conditions that AEP must meet to reduce environmental and social impacts of the project.

The conditions attached to the project have pushed back the start of construction, which was initially planned for this fall, said AEP spokeswoman Vikki Michalski.

"It will be a reevaluation of the timeline," Michalski said. "It could be later this year or early 2010."

Among the 24 conditions, AEP is required to conduct an archaeological study, receive permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to install transmission cables under the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and file a traffic plan with the city of Upper Arlington.

The city has requested that AEP meet three specific goals in the traffic plan to reduce congestion as Lane Avenue is narrowed to one lane in either direction during the estimated eight-month construction period, said assistant city attorney Joe Valentino.

"One is to work hand in hand with our police department, making sure traffic control moves smoothly," Valentino said.

The second and third goals have to do with delaying construction until after the conclusion of Ohio State University's football season and the holidays, Valentino said.

"We've requested that they avoid as much of Lane Avenue as possible until the football season is over and until after the holidays so we don't impact the merchants in that area," he said.

AEP has been cooperative thus far with the city's requests, Valentino said.

"They believe there is plenty to do before they get to Lane Avenue," he said. "The trick will be snow flying in January as they're moving plows through and digging trenches. But we'd rather they wait because of the volume of football traffic that moves through Lane Avenue. I think our (street crew) guys are good enough that I'd rather deal with that than construction during football season and the holidays."

More information about the transmission line is available on the OPSB Web site at www.OPSB.ohio.gov.