- On February 14th, the chiefs of staff for Congressman Michael Burgess and State Senator Tan Parker; Northlake, Bartonville, Flower Mound, and Argyle mayors and staff; Oncor representatives; and senior representatives of the US Army Corps of Engineers met at the Corps’ Lake Lewisville offices. The meeting was held to discuss the potential use of Corps property for the southern alternative transmission line route that Argyle and Northlake proposed for inclusion in the Oncor route study.
Here are the key outcomes from the discussion:
- Oncor was asked to look at two different routes that would cross Corps property. The original Northlake-Argyle proposal that crosses south of the Trailwood neighborhood would depend on the feasibility of taking the line underground for approximately 2,000 feet. “Undergrounding” a transmission line of this length and voltage (345kV) has been done before, but Oncor suggested that such a project has not been built at a 5,000-amp current capacity. Oncor agreed to perform an analysis of undergrounding the route at this location.
- I identified a second potential route during the meeting that follows the right-of-way of the old US Highway 377, east of the present route of the highway, and then turns west. Using the old US 377 right-of-way would not require a time-consuming environmental assessment. After turning west, however, the potential route could be difficult to engineer. Again, Oncor agreed to an analysis of the “old US 377” route.
- At this time, the ball is in Oncor’s court to return with their findings on the two southern routes we proposed.
- We will continue working with our State and Federal elected officials and their staff to qualify the Northlake-Argyle southern alternative routes. Dr. Burgess and Senator Parker have worked closely with Mayor David Rettig and me to find a solution that keeps transmission lines out of Argyle and the Northlake neighborhoods near FM 407. We are thankful for their continuing support.
- Internally, the Town staff has been considering comments made by Oncor that no homes would be at risk of condemnation if the transmission line route passes through established Argyle neighborhoods like The Settlement. I asked the Town Administrator to work with our Town Engineer to investigate Oncor’s claim. Our work to date suggests that there is a real risk of several homes on Forest Trail falling inside the Oncor transmission line easement on the north side of the street. Once we have completed our analysis, we will turn our findings over to the attorney who is handling communications with Oncor.
- We have been celebrating the huge volume of comments that Oncor received on Town social media. I want to commend the citizens who spoke up in the early going and made sure that Town leadership was aware of the route study in time to respond.
Town staff and our consultants have done amazing work informing the citizens of Argyle and providing the tools for an outpouring of citizen comments at a level rarely seen by Oncor. Thanks to everyone who commented and offered encouragement in the effort.
We have a long way to go yet, but we have reason to be optimistic about the outcome.