Tuco-Yoakum-Hobbs 345 kV Transmission Line

The proposed 345 kV transmission line project from substations near Tuco, Texas to Yoakum, Texas to Hobbs, New Mexico will consist of approximately 159 miles of new 345 kV transmission lines. The line will be constructed entirely on new right-of-way (ROW) with a proposed easement width of 150 feet, and will cost an estimated $242 million dollars to complete.  The project will be funded by the Southwestern Public Service (SPS) through internally-generated funds involving numerous other utility companies. This line will substantially increase bulk power capacity and system reliability in the region, and is expected to be in-service in 2020.

HVDC-stationen i Araraquara, Brasilien. Foto: Gustav Mårtensson

Before construction can begin, the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) must grant a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) for both the section from TUCO to Yoakum and for the section from Yoakum to State Line, and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission must grant a CCN for the portion from State Line to Hobbs. The CCN application process determines the need for the project, the projected impact, and the line route. The first CCN from Yoakum to Texas State Line was filed with the Texas PUC on June 25, 2015 and was approved in the PUC’s Final Order on March 22, 2016. Information and updates on this portion of the project can be found at the PUC interchange by searching for docket number 44726 at:

http://interchange.puc.texas.gov/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/pgSearch.asp

The Tuco to Yoakum CCN was filed on June 29, 2016, but has not been approved at this time. Updates can be found at the PUC interchange by searching for docket number 46042.

Please contact Luke Ellis with Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP at lellis@jmehlaw.com or (512) 215-4078 if you have any questions or would like to receive periodic updates on this project.

Advertisements

Longview FM 2206 Expansion

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plans to widen FM 2206 – also known as Harrison Road – from two lanes to four lanes with a flush median from SH 42 east to Loop 421 in Longview. A public hearing was held on August 23, 2016 and the state has set aside $10.6 Million to widen the eastern portion of the route between Fisher Road and Loop 281. Right-of-way (ROW) acquisition for this stage of the project is set to begin in mid-2017 and construction is scheduled to begin in 2019. TxDOT spokeswoman Susan Howard has said the project would result in acquiring property from about a dozen owners.

The amount of vehicles passing down Harrison Road each day is expected to increase from about 6,500 vehicles to more than 10,000 vehicles within two decades, leading TxDOT and the Metropolitan Planning Organization to determine that expansion is necessary to improve safety by decreasing the likelihood of rear-end collisions.

Please contact Luke Ellis with Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP at lellis@jmehlaw.com or (512) 215-4078 if you have any questions or would like to receive periodic updates on this project.

SH 146 Roadway Expansion

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is moving forward with its $200 million project to expand Texas Highway 146 in Harris County and Galveston County in order to alleviate daily traffic congestion.

TxDOT and city officials held progress meetings on November 8, 2016 and November 22, 2016. As of November 22, 2016, the Texas Department of Transportation had made initial offers on at least 45 parcels of land, and had closed on at least 4 of those parcels. Seabrook City Manager Gayle Cook stated that TxDOT is, “looking at next summer to finish those negotiations and to close on a big chunk of the remaining parcels.”

sh-146

This project will widen and restructure the road to a six to twelve lane freeway, add grade separations at major intersections, and add access roads in selected locations. A new expressway bridge will be built west of and parallel to the Seabrook-Kemah Bridge.

There are concerns that the Right-of-Way Acquisition process will displace businesses and lead them to close their doors entirely or relocate to other areas. The Seabrook Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) is working with the City of Seabrook to identify suitable property within Seabrook and accommodate business relocation.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will take three to four years to complete. More details concerning the physical logistics of the project will be released closer to the construction phase.

The City of Seabrook has devoted a portion of its website to giving information about and updates on this project, available at:

http://seabrooktx.gov/index.aspx?NID=369

Please contact Luke Ellis with Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP at lellis@jmehlaw.com or (512) 215-4078 if you have any questions or would like to receive periodic updates on this project.

Update: LCRA’s Zorn to Marion Transmission Line Project

On September 16, 2016, The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas approved the Zorn-Marion project in Gudadalupe county and selected Route 10M. The Zorn-Marion project is intended to address an increase in electrical demand caused by population growth in northern Bexar County and the Interstate 35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin.

cropped-monopole.jpg

After the project was approved, The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) began mailing property owners directly affected by the project Notice of PUC Approval and a copy of the Commission’s Final Order. The LCRA also began contacting the property owners in order to negotiate Right of Entry Agreements and, ultimately, begin construction of the transmission line.

You can find information and updates on the project at the PUC interchange by searching for docket number 45601 at

http://interchange.puc.texas.gov/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/pgSearch.asp

Please contact Luke Ellis, at Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge at lellis@jmehlaw.com or (512) 215-4078 if you have any questions or would like to receive periodic updates on this project.

High Speed Rail Update

The Texas Central Partners’ ( Texas Central) High Speed Railway continues to make national headlines in recent weeks. The railway is planned connect the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas using Japanese rail technology capable of transporting passengers at speeds over 200 mph. Currently, Texas Central is seeking legal rights to complete surveying – against some affected property owners’ wishes. Read here for more information. If you have any questions about this project, or any others affecting Texas property owners, please contact Luke Ellis at (512) 215-4078 or lellis@jmehlaw.com.

 

Grand Parkway Segments H and I-1 (Montgomery, Harris, Liberty, and Chambers Counties)

Proposed State Highway 99, the 180 mile long loop around the greater Houston area also known as the Grand Parkway, continues towards completion as segment G opened for traffic in March of 2016. Directly east, segments H and I-1 are still in the initial offer phase as TxDOT receives bids to complete this section of the project. Segments H & I-1 will primarily impact property owners Chambers County, Liberty County, and Montgomery County. Please see the image below for an updated map of the Grand Parkway.

sh99 segments open as of 2016-03-31 square 750
(image from www.grandpky.com)

TxDOT anticipates awarding a contract in Fall 2016. Then, contractors can begin the next steps in the project’s progression, including acquiring right-of-way for the Grand Parkway extension. Please contact Luke Ellis, at Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge at lellis@jmehlaw.com or (512) 215-4078 if you have any questions or would like to receive periodic updates on this project.

LCRA’s Zorn to Marion 345 kV Transmission Line Project

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) recently filed its Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) application for a new 345kV transmission line between the Zorn and Marion substations in Guadalupe County. The area under study for the proposed route is located between New Braunfels and Seguin. Approximately 10-14 miles of new Right of Way (ROW) is anticipated for the new line, which will serve northern Bexar County and the Interstate 35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin.

area map

The CCN application, filed in March of 2016, compares 15 routes selected for further analysis. Route 10 was identified as the preferred route by the LCRA. The possible routes generally travel in a northeast to southwest direction near the border of Comal County, south of New Braunfels. Several criteria are considered by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) when selecting a project’s final design and route. This analysis is described for each route within the CCN application, which includes information on environmental impacts, proximity to habitable structures, and overall costs.

A hearing is scheduled at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for June 20-22, 2016 to review this project. It is possible for a final route to be selected at this time. Currently, intervenors and other affected parties are submitting public comments for the PUC to review. You can find these submissions and other information about the project at the PUC interchange by searching for docket number 45601 at http://interchange.puc.texas.gov/WebApp/Interchange/application/dbapps/filings/pgSearch.asp.

Please contact Luke Ellis, at Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge at lellis@jmehlaw.com or (512) 215-4078 if you have any questions or would like to receive periodic updates on this project.