Ameren Missouri installing new power line across Mississippi River

ST. LOUIS – It’s not every day you see a new power line, weighing half-a-million pounds and stretching a half-mile long, being put up across the Mississippi River.

A lot of electricity for St. Louis City comes from Illinois. Ameren Missouri has a generator facility in Venice, Illinois that feeds power into Missouri.

“The transmission project line we’re installing today is to bring another circuit into the north St. Louis (area),” said Brandon Nickel, Ameren project manager

It’s been quite a chore installing a power line over a river. There hasn’t been a river crossing like it in the St. Louis-area since 1987.

“They use a chopper because it's the most efficient way of getting conductors pulled in across the river,” Nickel said.

To do this job, you cannot be afraid of heights. The towers are 310-feet tall, the same size as the Statue of Liberty. The $22 million project will secure against anything that might happen.

“So in the event one of our circuits goes down due to a storm, tornado, or catastrophe, we still have the ability to supply customers using our other circuit,” Nickel said.

The transmission system is basically the interstate highway of the electrical grid, so it provides a lot of power for the city.

“If your distribution system goes down, you might lose a neighborhood, but if you lose a transmission line, you’re going to lose a big chunk of the city,” Nickel said.