NorthWestern Energy to analyze other locations for Clark Fork power line

Posted at 7:21 AM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 09:21:30-04

MISSOULA – NorthWestern Energy crews have begun rebuilding a power line damaged by the flooding Clark Fork River even as the utility is taking a look at whether long-term plans might include a relocation for the transmission line.The line — which crosses the river from the end of Tower Street — was heavily damaged in the floods in May. Now, conditions have dried out enough to allow crews to access the site and began replacing the half dozen poles that were torn out by the flood waters. But at the same time, NorthWestern Energy is also discussing whether it may make sense to relocate the line, given how the floods have created new channels and changed the landscape around the crossing. Utility company spokesman Butch Larcombe told MTN News that the line provides a critical link to carry power through the Missoula Valley but the river crossing may remain as it’s been the most efficient route."We try and find the most efficient ways to hook into substations and hook up with other transmission lines. So you find the most efficient route. Transmission lines are pretty expensive to build and maintain. So you don’t want to be dilly-dallying around," Larcombe said.It will take crews using specialized equipment about three weeks to repair the damaged lines.