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WAPA selects agency preferred alternative for Estes-Flatiron Rebuild

​IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2016
CONTACT: Jen Neville,, 720.962.7411

LAKEWOOD, Colorado – Today Western Area Power Administration announced the selection of an Agency Preferred Alternative for the environmental review of a project to rebuild two transmission lines between the Estes Substation and the Flatiron Substation, west of Loveland, Colorado.

The selected route for the Estes-to-Flatiron Transmission Lines Rebuild Project will consolidate two 60-plus-year-old transmission lines into a single, double circuit power line that will mostly follow the rights-of-way of the existing lines to minimize environmental impacts. In 2017, WAPA anticipates releasing the final environmental impact statement, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The final EIS will provide an updated analysis of the alternatives and a description of the selected route.

“The existing transmission lines are aging and deteriorating. They need to be replaced to make sure the transmission system continues to deliver power reliably and safely,” said WAPA NEPA Document Manager Mark Wieringa.

After evaluating eight different alternatives in the Draft EIS, WAPA considered public input and further divided each alternative into three separate regions—east, central and west. From this analysis, WAPA selected the best route for each region:

  • East region (closer to Loveland): Alternative B best utilizes existing ROW on the southern line, while avoiding difficult terrain and new ROW associated with other alternatives. 
  • Central region: A combination of Alternatives B and C would be used, generally locating the alignment closer to Pole Hill Road.
  • West region (closer to Estes Park): A modified version of Alternative C was selected because this route best utilizes existing ROW, while minimizing visual impact to the project area. It also avoids difficult terrain associated with other alternatives. The modification of this alternative will not reconstruct West Pole Hill Road to minimize impact to off-highway vehicle enthusiasts and recreational activity. 
Map of agency preferred alternative between Estes and Loveland Colorado

The entire rebuilt line would be constructed on steel double-circuit monopoles, which allow longer span length between poles and thus fewer poles used in the project.

“We are glad to give the public a preview of the Agency Preferred Alternative as we finalize the EIS,” said Wieringa. “WAPA intentionally did not select a route until we could consider public feedback on the alternatives in the draft EIS.  The feedback received during the scoping and draft EIS comment periods ensured this EIS would be a comprehensive analysis of the different alternatives, and ultimately informed the decision to use parts of different alternatives in the selected route.”

Available on WAPA’s Estes-to-Flatiron project website, the Agency Preferred Alternative shows where the existing ROWs would be used, as well as identifies the portion planned outside the existing ROW. “The preferred alternative would consolidate both lines on a single ROW, eliminate about 16 miles of transmission line, and allow the abandoned ROW to revegetate naturally,” added Wieringa.

The Canyon Lakes District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest is also a cooperating agency on the EIS, and concurred on the Agency Preferred Alternative selection. WAPA will prepare a record of decision regarding the project no earlier than 30 days after the final EIS has been released to the public.

Visit the Estes-to-Flatiron Transmission Lines Rebuild Project webpage for more information about the history and the environmental review.


About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power from 57​ hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states. It is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at

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