VIDEO: High-flying electrical work
Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane (actually a helicopter), it's...CapX2020 man.
Motorists traveling on Interstate 94 west of Alexandria saw the unusual sight of a worker suspended from a tethered line connected to a helicopter last week.
Aerial crews have been working on the CapX2020 transmission line between Alexandria and Sauk Centre since May 2.
The 345 kilovolt line between Fargo and St. Cloud is designed to improve electrical reliability in the southern Red River Valley and the Fargo, Alexandria and St. Cloud areas.
The project will also support additional generation development, including renewable energies, in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.
The last major upgrade to the region's electrical system took place more than 30 years ago, according to CapX202, which is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin.
Since then, the population has grown, home sizes have doubled and appliance and electrical uses have increased exponentially, according to CapX2020.
New transmission lines are being built in phases designed to meet the growth and tap into wind energy resources.
Xcel Energy is the project's construction manager.
The Fargo-St. Cloud portion of the line is expected to be energized in 2015.
The Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Department of Transportation and the CapX2020 utilities urge motorists to avoid gawking at the helicopter work and keep moving through the work zone.
"Minnesota law does not allow motorists to stop on a freeway unless it is for an emergency," said Sergeant Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol. "Failing to comply can result in a citation and fine."
For more information about the project, call 1-866-876-2869 or visit www.capx2020.com.