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TID draws fire for line route
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Turlock Irrigation District continues to encounter public and city protest in its plans to construct a 10-mile 115 KV electricity transmission line from Hughson to Ceres.

TID already has modified the route for the line, but a number of landowners along the new route don't want to look up and see 70-foot tall towers and lines. Some farmers are not happy about the prospects of a line cutting through their property either. The biggest issue came when the city of Ceres issued a letter stating its opposition to the project route as it slices through an area designated by the Ceres General Plan to become low-density residential housing.

The Ceres City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting on the matter at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at the old Ceres City Council Chambers at 2210 Magnolia Street.

The city of Hughson has also expressed concern about the line - which will be about 22 to 30 feet taller than standard distribution lines - traversing through its sphere of influence.

"Some people aren't happy about it, some people are," said TID's Public Information Officer Michelle Reimers of the new route. "I mean, it is transmission line. It's not a fun project. Nobody wants it in their backyard."

The power utility is proposing a new double-circuit 115-kV transmission line stretched from Geer Road northeast of Hughson to a new 7.3-acre substation on Grayson Road southwest of Ceres. The project is dubbed the Hughson-Grayson 115-kV Transmission Line and Substation Project.

According to TID officials the project is needed to serve expected load growth, improve transmission reliability, and provide additional dedicated crossing of Highway 99.

"It's a needed project - no doubt about it," said TID Director Charlie Fernandes of Ceres. "The problem with dealing with lines just is about everybody realizes they are needed, they're a necessity, while the same time nobody wants them in their backyard."

The project also includes construction of a double circuit 69-kV transmission line, which would follow the same route as the 115-kV transmission line for the first 0.8 miles from the Grayson Substation, extending east on East Grayson Road, and a second 69-kV transmission line that would extend approximately a half-mile north of the Grayson Substation to the existing TID Almond Power Plant.

TID officials held a second scoping meeting at the Hughson Community Center on Monday, Sept. 14 where the draft EIR received comments. Ceres area landowner David Yonan attended and was upset to learn that the "route is using and cutting through some prime ag land and down roads instead of following existing TID canals -which they already own."

Yonan said officials have not explained why the route was chosen and expressed his suspicions that "it's shorter and cheaper."

"I have a strong feeling that a good number of people will be very surprised to find this unsightly project coming to their backyards," said Yonan.

Fernandes said the district does have a goal of drawing a line that has least financial impact on ratepayers. The project is expected to run $1 million per mile, or $10 million.

Reimers said TID modified its original route "to take advantage of TID canals" after taking comments from the public back in February. She also said TID accepted input in February from landowners on Turner Road who voiced opposition to lines being placed at the front of their property so TID changed the route to go behind their properties.

Most who are upset with the route are those living in an area east of the TID Almond Power Plant where lines would head east from the Ceres Main Canal on line with Grayson Road-which two years ago got included in the General Plan and is potentially (in the future) to be widened and extended to tie in with Mitchell.

Fernandes said he's concerned about the impact to Ceres.

"It appears some information certaining the general plan hadn't been considered," he said. "It'll be put back to staff."

This Draft EIR provides a description of the project setting and characteristics. It also includes an environmental evaluation that identifies the potential environmental impacts. Mitigation measures are proposed to avoid or reduce the severity of any identified significant impacts. The public comment period closes on Sept. 25. Comments will continue to take comments on the draft EIR and then addressed after that date.

Persons may download the draft EIR at

The final EIR will be released later this year and considered by the TID board in November.