Dooms – Lexington Transmission Line Rebuild Project

UPDATE: Construction Activities Beginning near Lexington

  • View the Construction Updates below.

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. On March 25, 2014, the SCC approved a new 230kV line to be located on the same structures as the 500kV line. Construction updates can be found below.

Project Details

Construction Updates

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.

Route Maps
Project Description

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.

  • Structure Comparison – View a diagram of the existing and proposed structures.

  • Photo Simulations – View photos of existing structures in the right of way and simulations of the proposed structures:
    • Simulation 1 (Staunton Area):  View from Dutch Hollow Road, looking southwest across Newport Road.
    • Simulation 2 (Rockbridge Baths):  View from Maury River Road, looking southwest across the river.
    • Simulation 3 (North Waynesboro):  View from East Side Highway, looking west. 
  • Printable project fact sheet (revised Oct. 2013)
Project Benefits

The project will:

  • Address aging infrastructure that is nearing the end of its useful life
  • Reduce the risk of a major failure of the high voltage network
  • Maintain local and regional grid reliability
  • Create a new 230kV line to support local economic development opportunities
  • Increase the capacity of the 500 kV line by nearly 50%
  • Avoid violations of the mandatory NERC Reliability Standards
Project Timeline
  • September 2012 - Outreach to community and regulators
  • October 2012 - Information Open House for community to learn more about project
  • November 2012 - Submit application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission for consideration
  • May 2013 - SCC issues Final Order.
  • Summer 2013 - Secure necessary local permits for construction
  • October 2013 - Construction update letter mailed to neighbors
  • November 2013Application filed with the SCC for the new 230kV line to be installed on the new 500kV/230kV structures
  • February 2014 - Phased construction scheduled to begin
  • March 2014 - The SCC issues Final Order for the 230 kV Line
  • December 2015 - Transmission line to be placed in service
SCC Approval Process

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. On March 25, 2014, the SCC issued its Final Order for case PUE-2013-00118, granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the new 230 kV line.

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

Contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Dooms-Lexington Rebuild Project.

Questions and Answers

Will Dominion require additional right-of-way?

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.

How will the completion of this project benefit me as a resident?

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.

Will tree clearing be necessary for this line?

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.

Will Dominion repair damage due to construction?

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.

What will be the environmental impact of construction of the line?

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.

Why do the new structures have to be taller?

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.

Have the proposed structures changed since 2012?

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.

Where can I obtain more information on the project's SCC application?

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

To learn more about this process, view our SCC process map.

Should I be concerned about Electric and Magnetic Fields?

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.

  • March 23, 2009 Beaumeade-NIVO (Case Number PUE-2008-00063) Report of Michael D. Thomas, Hearing Examiner concludes that "… electric transmission line electromagnetic fields do not represent a human health hazard."
  • May 4, 2010 Hayes-Yorktown (Case Number PUE-2009-00049) Report of Deborah V. Ellenberg, Chief Hearing Examiner, states, "I find that EMF has not been identified as a carcinogen for human beings despite extensive study over many years, and there is, therefore, no basis on which to prohibit the Company from authorizing appropriate uses of its right-of-way."
  • August 23, 2011 Hollymead (Case Number PUE-2011-00015) Report of Michael D. Thomas, Hearing Examiner, states, "The proposed facilities do not represent a hazard to human health, which finding is consistent with the Virginia Department of Health’s report entitled Monitoring of Ongoing Research on the Health Effects of High Voltage Transmission Lines (Final Report) dated October 31, 2000."

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."

Additional information:

How can I learn more about the electric transmission system?
  • The 21st Century Grid: This July 2010 article from National Geographic describes the electric grid and our modern day energy challenge.
  • The modern "electric grid," referring to the powerlines that supply your home with electricity, receives power from many sources and types of generation including wind, coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric and others. Get more information on how the grid works.
  • View a diagram of how power gets to your house.
  • Check out the interactive simulations available on the Department of Energy website. You can also see how a few simple changes at home can lower your own consumption — and your bill!
  • So where is all the power going? Find out who the big users are on an information-packed site from Virginia’s State Corporation Commission.
  • Dominion hosts a Green Power initiative that allows you to support renewable power through your monthly bill. You also can learn about Dominion’s other Conservation Programs.
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