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ITC Midwest to conduct line patrols

ITC Midwest will conduct aerial patrols of high-voltage transmission structures and lines throughout its service territory from approximately Tuesday through Aug. 17, weather permitting, according to a press release. Helicopter patrols provide an overall status of the overhead transmission system owned and operated by ITC Midwest.

The aerial inspections will cover the company’s lines in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. The flights will be conducted in the Independence, Mason City and Lansing, Iowa, areas as well as the Adams, Fairmont, Harmony, Jackson, Luverne, Sherburn and Winnebago, Minnesota areas. Counties in the aerial patrol areas include Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Dickinson, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Howard, Kossuth, Mitchell, Osceola, Winnebago and Worth in Iowa as well as Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Jackson, Martin, Mower, Nobles and Rock in Minnesota.

These patrols are a North American Electrical Reliability Corporation requirement for ITC Midwest’s vegetation management program, support proactive maintenance objectives and align with the company’s model for operational excellence. They include inspections of steel structures, wood poles, conductors (wires), insulators and other equipment. Crews check for damaged or worn equipment and vegetation hazards.

The inspection flights are often conducted at low altitudes to allow accurate visual inspection of equipment for lightning damage, wear or other potential problems. This is normal procedure, so there is no cause for alarm if a low-flying helicopter is sighted near transmission lines during the time frame listed.