American Transmission Co. projects

Project website for a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the high-voltage electric transmission system that powers communities in portions of the Upper Midwest.

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Crews use helicopters to modify transmission structures

Motorists on U.S. Highway 41 urged to focus on road

DE PERE, Wis. – Crews from MJ Electric are using helicopters to modify transmission line structures north of Green Bay over the next few days, and American Transmission Co. is cautioning motorists to keep their eyes on the road to ensure public safety.

The crews have become much more visible as the work progresses south on the line along U.S. Highway 41 in northern Brown County.

“We are working with the Department of Transportation and local law enforcement to keep the crews and the traveling public safe,” said Dustin Johanek, ATC project manager. “While it is interesting to watch this work being performed, we urge drivers to focus on the road and not the helicopter overhead.”

Crews began work on the project in mid-July and have become increasingly efficient, completing modifications of up to 24 structures a day. The project has been hindered somewhat by the hot weather; increased demand on the transmission system has made it difficult to take the line out of service to perform the work.

“It’s quite intense work,” explained Johanek. “Two five-member crews are placing ‘peaks’ atop the transmission towers to prepare for stringing fiber-optic cable later this year. The helicopter transports both crews and their tools to two adjacent structures, where they make preparations to attach the peaks. The crew then uses the helicopter to lift the peaks into place for each tower. By the time the second peak is secured, the first crew is nearly complete. They leap-frog over to the next structure in line and the sequence begins again.”

By replacing the 85-year-old lightning shield wire, the fiber-optic cable will increase communication capability in the ATC data network, creating a more connected “smart grid” to enhance reliability and system awareness for operators.

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American Transmission Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that owns and operates the electric transmission system in portions of the Upper Midwest. Formed in 2001 as the nation’s first multi-state transmission-only utility, ATC has invested to improve the adequacy and reliability of its infrastructure. ATC now has $5 billion in assets, including more than 9,890 miles of transmission lines and 568 substations. The company is a member of the MISO regional transmission organization, and provides nondiscriminatory service to all customers, supporting effective competition in energy markets without favoring any market participant. For more information, visit our website at

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