The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has granted siting approval of final routes and substations to Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) for the 400m-long Illinois Rivers electric transmission project.

The estimated $1.1bn project is expected to facilitate the delivery of low-cost power and improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric power grid.

Using steel poles with a single shaft, the 345,000V transmission line will run from Palmyra, crossing the Mississippi River at Quincy, and will then run east past Meredosia, Pawnee, Pana, Mt. Zion and Kansas, ending at Sugar Creek, with additional lines running from Meredosia to Ipava and between the Sidney and Rising substations near Champaign.

ATXI chairman, president and chief executive officer Maureen Borkowski said, "This project will benefit the state’s economy, create jobs and provide Illinois electricity customers greater access to a variety of low-cost energy sources, including wind energy."

In August 2013, the ICC approved the need for the project and some of the project routes and substations, which enabled ATXI to start the real estate process on those portions, including surveying work and negotiations with landowners to secure 150ft -wide easements.

Substation construction is already underway, while line construction is expected to begin in late 2014.

The project had also received approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).