FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) has released the proposed route for an upgraded electric transmission network in Fort Wayne and Bluffton.

I&M said it plans to invest $93 million on the Fort Wayne-Bluffton Transmission Line Rebuild Project, which involves:

  • Updating about 26 miles of 69-kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line between Fort Wayne and Bluffton
  • Building about 4 miles of 69-kV electric transmission line southwest of Ossian, between the Uniondale and Kingsland substations
  • Building about 12 miles of 69/138-kV double-circuit transmission line from the existing path south of Bluffton, north to Murray Substation
  • Building the Baer Substation in Fort Wayne near the intersection of Baer Road and Baer Field Thruway

The plans call for replacing deteriorating wooden poles along the power line route with modern steel poles, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and improving the line’s performance. The new substation and proposed four mile power line will also reduce the likelihood of larger, sustained outages in the community and ensure reliable electric service.

I&M announced the project in May at a virtual open house. Community feedback was received through the end of July.

“Following review of community feedback, land use and environmental impacts, the project team was able to determine a final proposed line route this month,” I&M said.

The proposed route:

Courtesy of Indiana Michigan Power

“One of our core missions as a company is to work together with our customers to develop innovative solutions that power communities and improve lives, and this project is the perfect example of that. I can’t thank folks enough for all of the input and conversations throughout the past few months,” said Scott Yarbrough, project outreach specialist. “That feedback is critical to our project process and helped us determine a line route that will serve the area with reliable power for decades to come with minimal impact to the environment and our neighbors in the community.”

In the coming weeks, landowners along the proposed line route will receive a packet of information from I&M that includes a detailed map of the proposed route location on their property. I&M said Right-of-way agents plan to work with affected landowners to discuss necessary easements, access and construction activities.

The project is expected to start in late 2022 and end in 2027.

Courtesy of Indiana Michigan Power

The project has raised some concerns of Wells County residents, more specifically a group of more than 300 landowners who are members of ‘Wells AEP Fight.’ WANE 15 conducted interviews with landowners back in August. Here is what they had to say about the new routes.

We appreciate that AEP tried to minimize the new routes and reuse the majority of the existing lines.  The proposed route does affect several landowners that are against it crossing their property.  This group hopes that AEP will work with the affected landowners to reduce the impact to their land.  The primary concern that we heard is that the proposed route goes though the middle of the property instead along the road or properly line. 

Wells AEP Fight

To view an interactive map of the proposed power line route, click here.