COLUMBIA, Mo. -

A new power line project would send additional power capacity to downtown Columbia.

The city's Water & Light department outlined a plan to connect new power lines to existing ones from Rebel Hill substation in east Columbia to downtown. The new lines would be buried, some running underneath Highway 63 and Hominy Creek.

"We actually have a couple extra slots, if you will, at the Rebel Hill substation, where we're able to feed another circuit out of that substation," Columbia Water & Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said.

The project would provide seven megawatts of power to help supply two new apartment complexes - the recently-completed Lofts on Ninth Street and the current complex under construction on Fifth Avenue and Conley Road. 

According to a map of the project, a new, underground line on St. Charles Road would connect to the transmission lines on Rustic Road, running south. The lines then run back into the ground at Timberhill Street. The new lines buried there run west, along Broadway, until reconnecting with the poles on Ann Street.

Kacprowicz says Water & Light's new policy is to bury power lines whenever possible, although building new poles is cheaper.

"[Underground lines] less susceptible to Mother Nature, high winds, ice storms, also squirrels, that type of thing causing problems," Kacprowicz said.

A public hearing on the plan will be held at the next Columbia City Council meeting.