By Pamela Cody
Special to the PRESS
AEP, American Electric Power, held an open house on South Padre Island, Wednesday, October 9, evening, to inform the public about their extensive construction project commencing this fall in the Port Isabel/SPI area.
The South Padre Island and Port Isabel Transmission Improvement Project is an extensive enterprise, the goal of which is to upgrade and improve the local power grid. The near $51 million dollar project will replace approximately 12 miles of transmission lines in order to bolster their electric systems and ensure that electric service in the Laguna Madre area is uninterrupted and consistently reliable.
The work is being done in phases.
Phase 1, beginning in November 2019, will rebuild power lines along Highway 100 from the Port Isabel Substation to the Causeway Substation and is expected to continue into spring and possibly summer of 2020. Phase 2 will begin after Labor Day 2020 and will involve upgrading a section of power line connecting the South Padre Island Substation to the Sunchase Substation.
Phase 3 will undertake reconstructing power line segments across the Laguna Madre between the Causeway substation and Sunchase substation, with AEP expecting their work crews to complete this task by late 2021.
Juliet Capeheart, AEP Project Outreach Specialist, was at the SPI Community Center Wednesday evening along with a contingency of AEP staff, to answer questions and offer details about the work that will be taking place between November 2019 and the latter part of 2021.
“We’ll begin construction on the Port Isabel side and work down along Highway 100. We’ll be replacing our tall transmission poles. They will take outages on the transmission but the service will be fed from a different substation so there won’t be power outages from that project,” Capeheart said. “But because of the distribution lines that exists on our transmission lines, they have to remain energized. So it’s much more sensitive work and we have to be very careful about how we work around those lines. Therefore, it’s a little more complicated construction and takes just a little longer.”
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