- Associated Press - Saturday, February 13, 2016

WAVERLY, Ind. (AP) - Anyone driving along Indiana 37 recently might have seen helicopters hovering and workers dangling in the air.

But despite what it looks like, scenes from an action movie are not being filmed in central Indiana.

For the next two months, workers will continue to install new power lines between Indianapolis and Martinsville. The lines follow the route of Indiana 37 through Johnson and Morgan counties and then heads east through the south side of Indianapolis.

The process of installing those lines is intense. As long as the weather isn’t too rainy or snowy, a helicopter is brought to the area to lower workers one at a time on top of transmission towers. The workers will spend about four hours preparing the wire and a couple hours installing the new line.

The helicopter will stay in the area, hovering near the side of the road with a line ready to be connected to harnesses the workers are wearing. When workers finish installing lines, the helicopter will then lift them from the top of the tower and lower them onto the next tower when more work is ready to begin. From one transmission tower to the next, workers will connect roughly 3 miles of new line, Indianapolis Power and Light spokeswoman Brandi Davis-Handy said.

Many transmission towers are well more than 100 feet tall, so the work is more easily done by lowering the workers onto the top of the tower, rather than having them climb up the tower to replace the lines, Davis-Handy said.

“This is such a huge project that, due to the size, crews have to use a helicopter. It is definitely more efficient,” Davis-Handy said.

Indianapolis Power and Light is installing new power lines over a 25-mile radius, as part of a plan to transition from using all coal to half coal and half gas as its power source, Davis-Handy said. The utility provides electricity to about 480,000 customers in Marion and surrounding counties.

Work to install the new lines began in September and will last until April, when Indianapolis Power and Light plans to open a new gas turbine power plant, near Martinsville, Davis-Handy said. The new power plant will be one of the cleanest and most efficient plants built in Indiana, Davis-Handy said.

Between Martinsville and White River Township in Johnson County, a total of 10 sections, or towers, will have new line installed. Each 3-mile section takes about two weeks to complete, Davis-Handy said. The last of the 10 sections along Indiana 37 will then be connected to a tower west of Interstate 65, near Emerson Avenue, Davis-Handy said.

Workers have already installed the new power lines in four sections, south of Johnson County, as the work has been moving north along Indiana 37. In the last two months, crews have already completed four towers between Martinsville and White River Township, Davis-Handy said.


Source: (Franklin) Daily Journal, https://bit.ly/23XMAW7


Information from: Daily Journal, https://www.dailyjournal.net

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