Glenwood Springs – Mitchell Creek Electric Transmission Line Rebuild

Xcel Energy’s Transmission Project

The electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power generation facilities and transmission lines that deliver energy to local communities. In Glenwood Springs, transmission lines owned by Xcel Energy deliver electricity to the Glenwood Springs Electric Department’s substations and distribution system, which then serves local users. Glenwood Springs Electric Department purchases wholesale wind power from the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) to serve the city’s power needs.

Need to Rebuild

One of Xcel Energy’s electric transmission lines that provides power to Glenwood Springs runs 2.25 miles between the Glenwood Springs Substation (northeast of the Glenwood Hot Springs pool) and Mitchell Creek Substation (northwest of the Glenwood Meadows shopping center) needs to be rebuilt. This line was originally built in the 1940s, with a portion rebuilt in the 1960s. This line must be rebuilt because it has reached the end of its useful life. The line will be rebuilt to current design standards that include additional measures to reduce wildfire risk, such as replacing wood poles with steel poles. This project will ensure continued delivery of economic, safe and reliable electric service to our customers in Glenwood Springs and western Colorado. Replacement of the line will begin in April 2024.  

Location and Design

The existing line location was built more than 80 years ago, when about 10,000 people lived in Garfield County, compared to approximately 60,000 today. Limited access to the Glenwood Springs-Mitchell Creek transmission line makes construction and maintenance challenging. We’ve studied alternatives for the electric line location, evaluated technical design requirements, potential impacts on the environment, community, residents and businesses in Glenwood Springs. Rebuilding the line along the current route was identified as the preferred alternative because it will result in the fewest new impacts along the line.  

The rebuilt transmission line will be constructed with steel monopole structures. While the transmission line will operate at 69 kilovolts initially, the poles will be designed to accommodate a 115 kilovolt line to meet future demand. The height and design of the poles depend on location and conditions such as slope, soil conditions and distance between poles. The new poles are expected to be placed within existing easements or rights of way, but additional easements are required in some areas to ensure construction and operational safety and to provide access to the transmission line. For most of the project, contractors will use established ground access points; however, some areas cannot be reached by heavy vehicles, and equipment will need to be placed by helicopter. We will provide notification prior to these events.  

See what the rebuilt transmission line will look like.

Find out more about current and future work planned for the project.

Construction Using Helicopters

Helicopters are used for equipment and materials delivery and transmission pole installation in areas with steep terrain and limited access. Transmission poles will be assembled at the Temporary Construction Easements, then transported by helicopter to each installation location. This helicopter use is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

  • We are coordinating with the FAA and follow all regulations and safety requirements.
  • There are FAA restrictions on flying over occupied buildings, roads, and the operational Glenwood Gondola.
  • We filed a Congested Area Plan through the FAA to ensure safe evacuation of buildings during helicopter flights.
  • No interruption to electrical service is anticipated.

More information will be provided as construction plans are completed, including plans for communications with landowners and businesses that may be impacted by helicopter construction work.


In January 2024, the City of Glenwood Springs approved a Location and Extent permit application and a 1041 permit application for the project.  Garfield County also approved a Location and Extent permit for the project in January 2024. Additional land use permitting with Garfield County is anticipated to be complete in April 2024.  

Learn more about how we are engaging the public and jurisdictions.