Backyard warriors around Tampa Bay can breathe easier today, as Progress Energy unveils its map outlining 200 miles of planned transmission lines that avoid the region's most controversial areas.
None of the new transmission project will be built in Pasco County, where residents hotly opposed an east-west corridor along State Road 54. In Pinellas County, the lines will avoid both Brooker Creek Preserve and Crescent Oaks, to the relief of power line opponents.
All but 20 miles of the 200-mile project will follow existing routes. New transmission lines will slice through parts of northwest Citrus County, along a stretch south of Wildwood in Sumter County, and a small swathe northwest of Brookridge in Hernando County. In Hillsborough County, upgraded lines will follow existing paths.
"Transmission is probably the hardest thing we build because it impacts the most people directly," said Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of Progress Energy.
The $3-billion project will carry electricity south from Progress Energy's $14-billion planned nuclear power plant in Levy County several miles north of Crystal River. The utility will file in June for environmental approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The review will take 12 to 18 months.
The project could impact as many as 13,500 property owners, who will begin receiving letters from Progress Energy this week, Lyash said. Negotiations for property and easements will start later this year. The project is slated for completion by 2016.
Times staff writers Chuin-Wei Yap, Theresa Blackwell, Chandra Broadwater and Rodney Thrash contributed to this report. Asjylyn Loder can be reached at (813) 225-3117 or [email protected]