The Dooms-Lexington 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line was put into service in 1966 and, after more than four decades of operation, the structures and equipment are approaching the end of their expected service life and require replacement to maintain reliability. Our studies show that the line needs to be upgraded by 2016 to avoid violations of the mandatory reliability standards established by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
Within the existing right-of-way corridor, Dominion is preparing to replace the lattice-style towers with new, galvanized steel towers that will be approximately 35’ taller. These new towers will support conductors (wires) with greater capacity, and, will include arms for a new 230kV line to be installed underneath with minimal additional impact.
On May 16, 2013, the State Corporation Commission granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing the rebuild project. In November, Dominion filed an SCC application for the new 230kV line to be installed on the new 500kV/230kV structures. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014.
Transmission Line Work
Dominion crews are mobilizing to begin work building access roads. Gravel access roads will enable our crews to reach the work sites at each structure location with some of the large equipment necessary to complete the job. In some areas, timber matting may be used. All areas will be rehabilitated and restored to their pre-construction conditions at the end of the project.
Beginning in April, additional crews will be visible in the right of way areas, in the Lexington area initially and moving northeast. These are our foundation crews. At each structure location, crews will excavate holes that will be filled with concrete to provide the secure base for the new structures.
In June, Lexington neighbors will see our structure crews move in and start placing the new structures where they will be erected onto the new foundations.
All of this work will generally begin at the Lexington end of the project and crews will follow each other in a northeast direction heading toward our Dooms Substation just north of Waynesboro.
If you have questions about the work happening near you, please contact us.
As part of the high voltage network, Dominion maintains a 500kV transmission line that extends 39 miles from our Lexington Substation northeast to our Dooms Substation located just north of Waynesboro, Va.
Within the existing right-of-way corridor, Dominion is replacing the original lattice-style towers with new, galvanized steel towers that will be taller. In several places, the existing corridor contains two sets of towers. This project will only replace the 500kV line and structures that extend between Lexington and Dooms. See structure drawings below for a typical cross section of the area near you.
The new towers will support new conductors that will increase the capacity of the line by nearly 50%. The new structures will also be designed to accommodate a new 230kV line with minimal additional disruption for our neighbors. The new structures will be located on the same center line and in close proximity to the current structure locations. Both lines will operate safely within the existing right-of-way corridor.
The project will:
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is responsible for determining the need, route and environmental impact of transmission lines at 138 kV and above in Virginia.
Dominion filed its Dooms to Lexington 500kV Rebuild Project application with the SCC on November 19, 2012. On January 10, 2013, the SCC issued its Procedural Order for the case, PUE-2012-00134. On May 16, 2013, the SCC issued its Final Order, granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the rebuild project.
On November 7, 2013, Dominion filed an SCC application for the new 230kV line to be installed on the new 500kV/230kV structures.
Documents related to both cases will be made available to the public on the SCC Docket Search section of the SCC web site.
To learn more about this process, view our SCC process map.
Contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Dooms-Lexington Rebuild Project.
The existing transmission line will be rebuilt and upgraded within the existing right-of-way. However, Dominion will need to acquire some additional land near the existing Lexington Substation in order to accommodate new equipment there.
Due to the interconnected nature of the electric transmission grid, all power users in the area, including the local electric cooperatives, rely on Dominion's transmission infrastructure to deliver reliable power. When the Dooms-Lexington 500kV line is rebuilt, it will provide greater reliability of service and increase operational flexibility. The addition of the 230kV line will improve local reliability and enable future economic growth in the area.
Yes, more than likely. Trees located outside of the right-of-way which are tall enough to potentially impact the transmission lines may be removed. These trees are commonly referred as danger trees; view a diagram of danger tree clearances. Minimal additional clearing may be necessary in some locations. Prior to construction, the existing right-of-way must be cleared to allow construction activities and the safe operation of the future transmission line configuration. Existing low-growing vegetation may be left in place when it does not interfere with construction activities.
Trees are cut to be no more than 3 inches above ground level. Debris that is adjacent to homes will be disposed of by chipping or removal. In other areas, debris may be mulched or chipped as practicable. Clearing will be accomplished by hand in wetland areas and within 100 feet of streams. Care will be taken not to leave debris in streams or wetland areas. Matting will be used for heavy equipment in these areas. Erosion control devices will be used on an ongoing basis during all clearing activities.
Yes. The company, at its expense, will repair any private roads damaged by Dominion or its contractors during construction of the line or during future maintenance. In addition, we will reimburse property owners for crop damage and to repair or replace fences or gates if they are damaged.
As part of the SCC application, Dominion completes an evaluation of potential environmental, cultural, and historical impacts of the project. Dominion works with many local and state agencies to complete these evaluations and reasonably mitigate any impacts. The company also submits annual Erosion and Sedimentation (E&S) Control Specifications and an anticipated list of transmission line projects for the construction and maintenance of transmission lines to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for review and approval. For program year 2014, this project will be included in the annual submittal for approval prior to construction. Our contractors receive copies of the E&S specifications and any additional permit conditions prior to construction and are directed to meet any requirements. The right-of-way will be rehabilitated when construction is complete.
Our enterprise-wide environmental report describes our commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources and provides a wealth of information on environmental management and performance. We also invite you to read our Corporate Environmental Policy and our Greenhouse Gas report.
Dominion's Transmission Engineering Group determines structure locations and structure types for high-voltage transmission lines based on a wide variety of data and factors including, but not limited to, National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) clearance requirements, terrain, line sag between towers, voltage levels, equipment needs, route design, land use, and natural or manmade obstacles.
The new structures will be self-supporting galvanized steel lattice towers. Use of modern materials, compliance with NESC clearance requirements, and application of good utility engineering practices require the new towers to be taller structures. The new structures will also accommodate a second line at 230 kilovolts to be installed on the same structures; see structure diagrams.
Yes. The 500/230 kV double circuit structures originally proposed in our 2012 project application and materials were those used by the company in other projects over shorter lengths and less mountainous terrain. After further engineering, Dominion refined the design of the tower geometry for the 500/230 kV double circuit lattice tower to increase the vertical clearance between the 230 kV and 500 kV circuits over the greater span lengths. This helps to ensure we can maintain the same distance between the structures that there is today. The substituted design is more beneficial because it will provide enough clearance for the installation of the company’s standard ACSR conductor for both the 500 kV circuit and the underbuilt 230 kV circuit for the project. This structure design also improves the working clearance for maintenance purposes.
This improved design has resulted in an increase in the approximate average height of the proposed towers and the cross arm width. These structures represent an increase ranging between 2 and 14 feet in the approximate average height and 10.5 feet in cross arm width compared to the structures proposed in 2012.
The SCC maintains copies of all documents related to the case. Updates about the status of the application can be found on the SCC website at www.scc.virginia.gov.
To learn more about this process, view our SCC process map.
Dominion is sensitive to public concern about possible health effects from exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF). Dominion includes data on the levels of both electric and magnetic fields produced by proposed facilities in all applications submitted with the SCC. We continually monitor EMF research and speak to our customers and employees regularly to share the latest information available.
The Virginia SCC, which regulates the construction and operation of electric transmission lines of 138kV and above, considers EMF in every application. Hearing Examiner’s remarks from recent proceedings are below.
The Virginia Department of Health in its final report evaluating EMF research concluded:
"Based on the review and analysis of the exhaustive literature review and other research projects completed under the EMF-RAPID program, the Virginia Department of Health is of the opinion that there is no conclusive and convincing evidence that exposure to extremely low frequency EMF emanated from nearby high voltage transmission lines is causally associated with an increased incidence of cancer or other detrimental health effects in humans. Even if it is assumed that there is an increased risk of cancer as implied in some epidemiologic studies, the empirical relative risk appears to be fairly small in magnitude and the observed association appears to be tenuous. The studies published in the literature lack clear demonstration of a cause and effect relationship as well as a definitive dose-response gradient."