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Helicopters used to string power line

ZUMBROTA — Traffic on U.S. 52 north of Zumbrota was blocked for four, two-minute stretches Monday morning to allow a helicopter to pull rope across the highway as part of the CapX2020 project.

"It went really well," said Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Dougherty. "They got it all done."

It was the first of six such crossings that will be done over the next several months to build the large power line. CapX2020 is the largest power-line construction project in the Upper Midwest in 40 years.

The helicopter has a long arm that holds a very long rope, he said. It would go to a power pole, and the line would be attached and then it would move on to the next one. There are four lines for each pole. The rope then is used to pull a wire and, finally, the power lines themselves, he said.

Traffic backups weren't bad because it was done between the morning and evening rush hours, Dougherty said. The next stoppage will be in about a month and be farther north, he said.

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