Tippy-Chase Transmission Line Rebuild

The Tippy-Chase 138,000 volt (138 kV) line, built more than 50 years ago, became increasingly unreliable as growing demand for electricity and outdated technology taxed its service capabilities. METC recently rebuilt the line with new steel monopole structures and aluminum conductors (wires) to increase its capacity and reliability. The project was completed in the second quarter of 2013. 




  • Where is the project located?
    The Tippy-Chase line is located in northern Lake and southern Manistee counties. Most of it runs through the Manistee National Forest. The line begins in Lake County east of Baldwin near US-10 and proceeds north along the Cherry Valley-Pinora township line and the Ellsworth-Newkirk township line to just south of Luther. There it turns northwest through Newkirk and Eden townships, crossing into Manistee County, through Norman Township and on to the Tippy Dam substation in Dickson Township.
  • Why is this project necessary?
    Much of the transmission system serving northwestern Michigan was built in the mid-1950s and needs to be upgraded to meet increasing electrical demand. The lines and structures on the Tippy-Chase 138,000 volt (138 kV) line have reached their design capacity limits and are difficult to maintain. ITC subsidiary Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC (METC) upgraded this 30-mile line in order to improve reliability and to meet current safety, design and construction standards, including increased lightning protection.
  • What will the new lines and towers look like?
    The new towers will be steel monopoles which are stronger and more reliable than the existing structures. They also have a smaller environmental footprint. ITC will replace the existing copper lines with new steel and aluminum conductors capable of carrying more electricity safely and reliably. The new structures will allow for the addition of a second circuit to meet additional demand for energy in the future.
  • When will this project start, and how long will it take?
    Work began in August 2012 and was completed in the second quarter of 2013.
  • What efforts did ITC make to protect the environment in the area?
    ITC worked with appropriate state and local organizations, including the U.S. Forest Service and the Michigan DNRE, to review its project plans and obtain appropriate permits to erect towers and lines through this region.
  • What local permits, if any, did ITC have to obtain to reconstruct this transmission line?
    ITC coordinated with all federal, local and state agencies as well as local municipalities to ensure that all required permits such as road crossings, drain crossings and soil erosion permits were obtained. Local zoning approvals were not necessary because the reconstruction process took place entirely within our existing rights of way and easements.



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