A helicopter and heavy-duty air saw will be used within the next week to trim trees along a 115,000-volt transmission line between the Pine Substation on Big Eddy Road in Merrill and the Grandfather Falls Substation on Highway 107 north of Merrill.
American Transmission Co. has contracted with Aerial Solutions, Inc. to manage vegetation growth along its transmission line corridors. The helicopters used by Aerial Solutions are equipped with heavy-duty air saws with rotary blades suspended on a 90-foot vertical boom. The work is dependent on good weather, so the schedule is subject to change. 
When compared to the work of ground-based crews, the air saw has been shown to be highly productive and efficient. 
“An aerial saw can trim in one hour as much as can be completed by conventional ground crews in one or more days,” said Dan Horton, vegetation management specialist.
Managing the growth of trees and other vegetation is important to help ensure public safety and electric system reliability. ATC performs routine vegetation management on its 9,480 miles of transmission lines in five-year cycles.