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Residents react to possible transmission line plan north of Columbia

Many people living north of Columbia say they were just learning about a possible new transmission line through their neighborhood.

ABC 17 News reported on Ameren Missouri’s report allowing the city of Columbia to use its transmission route running north of Columbia. The city would utilize the path Ameren made with the McCredie-Overton transmission line to either add its own lines to the poles or build an entirely new line.

Some Columbia City Council members said the Ameren report was a promising update in the years-long saga over the transmission line project. City leaders had originally planned for the route to go through south Columbia, but the council scrapped that plan in January 2016. Mayor Brian Treece, who wasn’t on the council at the time, suggested the city work with Ameren to see if running lines through their transmission corridor would work.

“My first preference would be to ask Ameren if we could attach our lines to their existing utility poles,” Treece told ABC 17 News. “That would save us from buying an extra 75 feet of right-of-way, it would save us from buying additional poles.”

The McCredie-Overton line runs just outside the northern border of Columbia with Boone County. Ameren pointed out two “pinch points” where structures outside the line’s right-of-way might require the city to get other landowners’ permission to build the line. That includes a neighborhood off Oakland Gravel Road and Alfalfa Drive, as well as the Sycamore Hills neighborhood off Creasy Springs Road.

One resident near Alfalfa Drive named Bernard said he would have some health concerns if the city added more high-voltage transmission lines. He has lived next to Ameren’s line since the early 1990s, and said he often could feel his hair stand on end due to the electric field the lines emitted. Ameren physically raised the poles recently, he said, which took care of that problem.

Others in the area said they couldn’t give an opinion on the project until more specifics were released on the plan.

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