The 138 kilovolt line the LCRA has been directed by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas to consider as a route for a 345 kv CREZ transmission line through Mason County has been formally identified by LCRA. In a Dec. 30 e-mail to Judge Jerry Bearden, LCRA staffer Lance Weymouth identified the 138 kv line and provided a map showing its location through Mason County. Previous maps produced by Kimble County and the Clear View Alliance had misidentified a smaller 69kv line. Mr. Weymouth’s note also made clear that LCRA has identified "several other alternative route segments for this project that would not traverse Mason County."
The existing 138 kv line runs in an almost straight line from Menard to just south of Post Hill, then turns south and runs close to US 87 down through Cherry Springs and on to Fredericksburg. The 138 kv line can be distinguished from the smaller 69 kv line by counting the porcelain cups on the insulating connections of the wires to the poles. The connectors on the 138 kv lines have eight or ten cups, the 69 kv lines have four or six.
LCRA "Open Houses" Coming Up
Probably in mid February the LCRA will have open meetings to show maps and aerial photographs of the proposed route of the 345 kv CREZ line through Mason, Menard and Gillespie Counties. Affected landowners will be notified by mail and all local residents will be welcome to attend. LCRA employees will be present to answer questions and record public reactions to the plan.
Monopole Mix Up
The 345 kv lines can be run on lattice towers, like the ones carrying the line that crosses US 87 north of Brady, or on single steel or concrete poles, "monopoles," like the ones that carry the line just west of London. The monopoles have a smaller footprint and require less right of way clearing, but add to the cost of the project. The Clear View Alliance is pushing for monopoles, among other things, and are upset because LCRA is stockpiling lattice tower components in a storage yard near Junction. They fear that LCRA will insist on using the lattice towers because the materials are already purchased. Clear View officers and their lawyers have written letters of protest to LCRA, PUC and Governor Perry.
IH-10/277 Route Facing Resistance
An alternate route for the CREZ line along Hwy 277 and IH-10 has been endorsed by Texas Representative Harvey Hilderbran and Mason County Judge Jerry Bearden. Representative Hilderbran has been told by LCRA reps that this route is too expensive. In a Jan. 8
th, 2010, letter to Thomas Mason, General Manager of LCRA, Hilderbran emphasizes that the IH-10 corridor should be used as much as possible even if 277/IH-10 proposal is not followed literally. He also repeats concerns about the lattice tower stockpile near Junction. LCRA attorneys have answered by pointing out that they are required by law to use whatever type of pole PUC directs them to use.