Construction begins on Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge transmission line

In April, construction crews on the Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge transmission project completed drilling and  setting the foundation rebar cage for the concrete pour.

Construction began on April 4 on the Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge transmission project in western North Dakota.  The project includes 33 miles of new 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line between the existing Roundup substation (north of Killdeer, North Dakota) and the existing Kummer Ridge substation (near Johnson’s Corner, North Dakota), and will help serve the growing load Basin Electric members are experiencing in northwest North Dakota.

This is the start of a second transmission line construction project in one week for Basin Electric in western North Dakota – the first being the Pioneer Generation Station-to-Judson transmission line.

Design for the Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge transmission started in 2022 and is budgeted to cost approximately $80 million – Basin Electric’s most expensive dollar-per-mile line to-date. This investment is necessary to serve load in the Kummer Ridge area, provide critical transmission redundancy, and help alleviate energy market congestion.

The line required multi-discipline collaboration for the project team in the areas of engineering, environmental, and right-of-way acquisition.


“The project had unique and challenging terrain,” said Bobby Nasset, Basin Electric’s supervisor of Civil Engineering and Roundup to Kummer Ridge project manager. “Our Environmental and Right-of-Way teams did a great job of getting the approvals we needed to start construction.”

The design team had to strategically place structures in accessible locations that allow for transmission line construction.

“For our traditional transmission lines, we typically follow quarter lines or section lines that are more accessible,” said Nassett. “For this project, we had to identify and acquire approximately 90 miles of off right-of-way access for the structure locations. The terrain also required several large spans over valleys – we had spans up to 2,300 feet.”


The North Dakota Public Service Commission (NDPSC) requires environmental assessments before sighting application permits are granted. The route for the Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge transmission line also passes through The Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs lands requiring additional assessments.

 “We’ve had to go through the permitting process at the federal, state, county, and even township levels,” said Ryan King, Basin Electric environmental coordinator. “Without the pre-construction federal permits, as well as the NDPSC permits, Basin Electric cannot lawfully construct the line, so we’re proud of the strides we’ve made to begin construction this month.”


Approximately 30 landowners were identified along the route of the transmission line. Right-of-way specialists play a critical role in obtaining the proper easements needed to begin construction.

“Communication is key,” said Jerry Haas, Basin Electric senior property and right-of-way specialist. “It’s important to keep positive working relationships with landowners throughout the duration of the project so they know their concerns are being heard and know we’re doing our best to work with them along the way.”

The project team is taking the necessary steps to accelerate the construction schedule so the line can be energized in October 2024 rather than 2025 as first anticipated. Foundation crews of 15-20 personnel are currently onsite, and an additional 50-60 personnel will arrive with the structure setting and stringing crews.

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