The Telluride/Mountain Village Reliability Project:
Loop Feed to bring Better Service Reliability to Mountain Communities
Construction Schedule Information:
Details about road and trail closures will be determined as work progresses. Please check here for updates as they become available:
The construction is part of the Telluride / Mountain Village Reliability Project, which will provide an electric power line loop to connect to existing San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) service lines which currently serve the town of Telluride and parts of Mountain Village. If you happened to be in Telluride or Mountain Village over President’s Day weekend, 2016, you’ll probably remember the power outage. An electric transmission power pole in Ilium Valley was destroyed by a falling rock, and the transmission and distribution lines were broken.
Because the damaged lines comprised what engineers call a “radial feed,” there was no backup. Therefore, residents and businesses had to wait 23+ hours while crews from Tri-State and SMPA worked through the night to re-install the power pole, lines and components.
The event brought renewed attention to an SMPA proposal called the “Telluride / Mountain Village Reliability Project.” This project proposed to bury heavy distribution lines capable of backing up the transmission line between the Sunshine and the Telluride substations. This redundant feed would allow one substation to cover the load of the other in case of failure. Moreover, because the new line would be buried underground it would be invisible and invulnerable to such events as the infamous rockslide.
In order to proceed, SMPA needed to obtain permits from several entities and regulatory authorities. After submitting and revising the project plan, the necessary permits were finally issued toward the end of February, 2016.
Next, SMPA selected a private contractor to construct the new distribution line. Now, a construction schedule is being set.
The work will require road and trail closures, and residents will be provided notice on variable message boards, temporary signs, public service announcements via newspaper and radio and postings at each Galloping Goose trailhead. No construction activities will take place during festivals.
The mountain towns were very supportive of operations crews during the long outage; now, with a little more patience, they can feel assured that any future outages will likely be much, much shorter.