Winter construction, mats and ice roads help minimize impacts
We recognize that our construction and maintenance work may impact the environment. We take our commitment to environmental protection and stewardship seriously. Our goal is to avoid making impacts where we can, minimize those that can’t be avoided and restore the environment after the work is done. In some instances, we can improve conditions.
We adhere to local, state and federal laws regulating the construction or rebuilding of transmission lines. We obtain permits required to work in environmentally sensitive areas and use prescribed construction methods to comply with permit requirements and reduce our impacts.
To create stable working areas and protect environmentally sensitive areas, we make use of protective construction mats to support heavy equipment. We often perform construction during winter months when the ground is frozen to minimize disturbance to soils and sensitive plant and animal life. Winter construction also allows for use of ice roads as an alternative to construction mats. Ice roads are constructed by removing the top, or insulating, layer of snow, then running equipment back and forth to effectively drive frost into the soil to create a stable road.
Ice roads are an efficient and effective alternative to construction mats in wetland areas where organic material produces its own heat, thus negating cold temperatures that would usually freeze the soil.
We also use construction practices that reduce the spread of invasive species and transmittal of agricultural pests and diseases. In certain instances, we have used helicopters to access and work on transmission lines to avoid contacting environmentally sensitive areas on the ground.
Inspections are performed during and after construction to ensure compliance and proper restoration. In some cases, we partner with conservation groups, municipalities and others to remove invasive species and improve habitat for wildlife.
Our dedication to the environment also is evidenced through our designation as a Green Tier company by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Green Tier recognizes businesses and organizations that demonstrate superior environmental performance and dedication to continual improvement, and strives to encourage responsible environmental decision making to protect and restore natural resources.