Evergy announces plans for $14.5m local project

Jonathan Riley
Morning Sun

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Representatives from Evergy made a rare appearance at a Pittsburg City Commission meeting Tuesday, speaking during public input to discuss $14.5 million worth of transmission and distribution line work they will be doing in the area over the next couple of years. 

“These are a series of improvements that have been part of our long-range plan for the region for quite a while,” said Evergy Customer Solutions Manager Kari West. 

“As we look for growth in the region, we just want to make sure that we’re prepared and that we’re ready to serve customers as Pittsburg’s growing.” 

This summer, Evergy will begin building a new South Pittsburg substation near Mastercraft Inc. and Mike Carpino Ford Pittsburg, Evergy Project Manager Dennis Lawlor said. The first phase of the project will involve building a transmission line, which will mostly follow the railroad tracks, between that substation and another one located just east of Highway 69 and north of Centennial. 

The second phase will involve work on utility poles along Centennial Drive and Rouse Street — but will not disrupt traffic or electricity service, Evergy officials said. 

“When we talk about topping out these poles, essentially the transmission is on the top quarter of the structures and then the distribution system that feeds houses and neighborhoods is on the bottom half of the structures. So we’re just going to remove the transmission conductor off the top, cut a portion of the pole off the top, and then move all the distribution stuff up,” said Evergy Regional Operations Manager R.J. Jubber. 

“If you’ve noticed, when you maybe are pulling out of Ron’s or pulling out of the mall, you see that the cable lines are really low right there in front of the cemetery. By topping out the transmission stuff, we will be able to move the distribution up, therefore the cable will go up and it’ll be out of sight lines. We’ll get some good height on those overhead lines along Centennial.” 

The third phase of the project will involve work near the intersection of Rouse and Quincy Street, where Evergy will be putting in several new wooden poles and steel structures. 

Vince Vanbecelaere, who was at the city commission meeting and lives near the intersection, asked Lawlor where specifically the new metal poles would be located. Lawlor pointed to general locations on the map he was presenting and said he could follow up with more detailed information for Vanbecelaere. 

“Are you going to have any community meetings like this, or for the neighborhood?” Commissioner Dawn McNay asked Lawlor. “Because I’m sure if Mr. Vanbecelaere has questions others do.” 

Mayor Chuck Munsell said he agreed with McNay that town hall style meetings with neighbors would be beneficial. Lawlor said Evergy can “absolutely” schedule community meetings to discuss the company’s plans further. 

“If anybody has any questions, we’d be more than happy to walk them through that,” Lawlor said, “whatever we can do to facilitate and inform.”  

Evergy’s schedule for the project includes a community outreach phase this spring, construction on its South Pittsburg Switching Station starting this summer, transmission line preparation work in the fall and construction beginning in December. Work on the substation and transmission line is expected to be completed by June of next year and right-of-way restoration work completed in fall of 2022.