“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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March 15, 2024

WAPA Power Line Repairs Replace Temporary Structures Installed After 2022 Storm

By Chris Picciuolo

Over the next six months, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and contractor Spartan Infrastructure, Inc., will be replacing power lines within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

This will complete the emergency repairs which began after the July 17, 2022, severe windstorm that damaged 3.5 miles of high-voltage electrical transmission line in the Lehi area, according to SRPMIC Senior Construction Manager Tina Sotero.

Preparation work began on January 11, and the work should be completed by June 1.

What will be replaced are the temporary wooden support structures and steel lattice towers on the 230-kV electrical transmission line between McDowell Road and Jackrabbit Road along the Lazona Drive alignment.

The temporary wooden support structures were installed by WAPA as an emergency response when 12 of the original lattice towers were damaged during the storm. The temporary structures ensured that electrical service remained uninterrupted while new steel poles were being manufactured.

“The newer monopole structures are something WAPA is implementing, as they are more resilient to wind than the old lattice towers,” said Sotero.

Since WAPA has an established right-of-way, the Community does not directly receive any electrical power from the section of the Pinnacle Peak to Rogers 230-kV transmission line that passes through the Community to serve the power grid for the Phoenix metro area.

Sotero noted that multiple SRPMIC departments are involved and coordinate with WAPA when repairs are needed, including the Community Relations Office, which sends out notices to the Community.

“WAPA submits an application for a construction permit to Engineering & Construction Services (ECS), then the application is routed through the Community Development Department (CDD) Economic Development Division (EDD) and Public Works for review,” said Sotero.

WAPA is one of four power marketing administrations within the U.S. Department of Energy whose role is to market and transmit wholesale electricity from multi-use water projects.

According to WAPA, the administration sells power to preference customers, which include federal and state agencies, cities and towns, and Native American tribes.

For more information on the repairs, contact any of the following at WAPA Desert Southwest Region: Edward Stoll, (602) 615-2525; Curtis Williams, (623) 680-5793; or Shaun Oliver, (480) 645-0477.