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This paper is concerned about optimal placement of synchronized phasor measurements that can monitor voltage and current phasors along network branches. Earlier investigations on placement of phasor measurement units (PMUs) have assumed that a PMU could be placed at a bus and would provide bus voltage phasor as well as current phasors along all branches incident to the bus. This study considers those PMUs which are designed to monitor a single branch by measuring the voltage and current phasors at one end of the monitored branch. It then determines the optimal location of such PMUs in order to make the entire network observable. The paper also addresses the reliability of the resulting measurement design by considering loss or failure of PMUs as well as contingencies involving line or transformer outages. Developed placement strategies are illustrated using IEEE test systems.