•Route will not be finalized until the end of this year

By Melanie Stegner


Jason Weiers, Manager of Transmission Project Development from Otter Tail Power Company was at last week’s work session of the Pope County Board of Commissioners to give an update on the status of the Big Stone South to Alexandria transmission line project. 

According to Weiers, the line will be between 95 to 105 miles long with 5-10 miles of the line in South Dakota. The structures are expected to be about 150’ tall and the base will be roughly 8 to 10 feet in diameter. The plan includes 4 to six structures per mile that are double circuit capable.

The company has held a number of public meetings to gather information and feedback from landowners and those affected by the line and the study area has been narrowed into project corridors. Another round of meetings will be held this summer, most likely around late June.

The overall objective of the meetings is to minimize landowner affect and the environment. After the meetings, the map will be refined, and the plan will come forward with two possible routes as the state requires two options. The route will have a 150’ easement across the entirety of it, 75 feet on each side. If everything goes according to plan, constructions will start in 2027 or 2028. The rough estimate of cost for the line per mile is $3.5 million. The application for the routes will be submitted during the fourth quarter of this year.

The next meeting in Glenwood is tentatively set for June 25 at Central Square. “Landowner feedback is really important to us, so we encourage everyone to attend these public meetings,” stated Weiers. A land value study will be completed for acquiring the easements along the route. 

The next steps in the process are to continue to further define the route corridors, continue to engage stakeholders with the project website, hotline, emails, talks with landowners, state legislators and agencies and county and township officials. Another round of public meetings will be held before the filing of the MN route permit in the fourth quarter. As stated, two route corridors are required for the MN route permit application and the state may introduce alternative routes.

Residents looking for more information can access the website at bigstonesouthtoalexandria.com, emailing connect@bigstonesouthtoalexandria.com or calling the hotline at (800)598-5587.

Report given on County Probation success

Commissioners also heard an update from Pope County Probation Office Director Terry Jaworski regarding the annual comprehensive plan. According to Jaworski, in an effort to qualify for more funding the department had to submit a comprehensive budget, form a probation advisory board and have that advisory board approve the comprehensive plan. 

The plan includes the success rates of the programs that the department provides. “I’m proud and determined to continue providing services at a high level. 89 percent of adults on probation successfully completed their program, 95 percent of juveniles completed, and 98 percent of pre-trial release clients completed successfully. I cannot stress enough how well the staff of this department has performed through the years,” stated Jaworski.

The next regular meeting of the Pope County Board of Commissioners will be held on Tuesday, April 16, at 9 a.m. in the third floor meeting room.