Spoon River Transmission Line
3:36 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Possible Ameren Transmission Route Threatens Illinois Prairie

Conservationists are raising concerns with a proposed transmission line from Galesburg to Peoria. 

Spoon River Transmission Line
Spoon River Transmission Line
Credit Screencap / Ameren

Three routes are being suggested for Ameren’s Spoon River Transmission Line project. One of them crosses the Knox Station Prairie near East Galesburg.

Knox Station Prairie
Knox Station Prairie
Credit Dan Thompson

The project would require a 150 foot wide easement with the transmission line running in the middle. The line will include single shaft steal poles to have the least impact on land.

All three routes would disturb the prairie and spread invasive plants.

But, Doug Franks from Peoria said Route C primarily would seriously threaten native vegetation.

“Another thing is prairie management requires periodic burning," Franks said. "And it is pretty much essential to do it between every three to five year. Well you may not burn under a transmission line like that. That’s a rule.”

Ameren must submit a suggested route and at least one alternative to the Illinois Commerce Commission by the end of July.

Closeup of Route C crossing Knox Station Prairie
Closeup of Route C crossing Knox Station Prairie
Credit Ted Tourlentes

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said the company is reviewing route options.

"Our goal is to make every effort to mitigate impact," Morris said. "But mitigation does not mean avoidance. There is no way you can avoid impact but we try to mitigate that impact to the greatest extent possible.”

The commission will choose one of Ameren’s proposed routes or create one. The line is scheduled to be in service by 2018.

Public comment on the project can be submitted online.