Oakwood-Burton Line Upgrade & Little Creek Substation

Project Update

Restoration has begun and crews are scheduled to be completed late June 2014. See the Construction Updates link below for more details.

Dominion Virginia Power is obligated to ensure that its transmission system complies with federally-mandated reliability criteria. We are committed to doing so in a safe, environmentally responsible and economical manner.

To ensure continued reliability and maintain the structural integrity of our transmission facilities, Dominion is planning to rebuild existing transmission line facilities to serve the Cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and build a new substation on U.S. Navy Little Creek Amphibious Base.

Within the existing right-of-way corridor that extends approximately 5 miles from the existing Oakwood Substation off of Oakmont Drive/Johnstons Road to the existing Burton Substation, Dominion will replace the existing lattice-style towers with steel "monopole" structures. In addition, the wires will be upgraded to carry more electricity during high demand periods, and a new substation will be built on the naval base.

Project Details

Construction Updates

Construction of the transmission line has been completed on the Oakwood – Little Creek portion of this project.

Work was completed in phases, and included:

  • Installation of new foundations using a vibratory technique
  • Placement of new monopole structures on the new foundations
  • Pulling new wires between the structures
  • Removing the old lattice structures


Starting in January 2014, we began restoration of the right-of-way. We expect to be completed with restoration by late June 2014. Crews will begin restoration at the Oakwood Substation moving east to Little Creek Substation. Crews may have to work out of sequence in some areas. All restoration schedules are subject to change and are based on weather conditions.

  • Remove the timber matting in the right-of-way and near access points
  • Restore the right-of-way and access points, including smoothing out ruts and planting grass
  • Remove temporary construction fencing (work to be performed by Rosenbaum Fencing Company)
  • Install permanent wood fencing (with access panels) where original fences existed (this work will be performed by Rosenbaum Fencing Company)
  • Follow up to ensure grassy areas have be properly re-established


You will see large and small equipment in the right-of-way, based on the type of activity to be performed for restoration. Typically, you will see crews in the right-of-way between the hours of 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday.

Based upon weather conditions or other delays, however, crews may need to work Fridays or Saturdays to ensure the project is completed on time. Their work will be intermittent along the right-of-way as they move between towers, so you won’t see them every day.

Please remember that the corridor must always remain clear of any unauthorized items. For a list of authorized items, such as approved vegetation, please visit our page on Right-of-Way Use.

Target Schedule

Phase One: Oakwood Substation to Shore Drive

  • Spring/Summer 2012 — Community outreach and notification of intent to begin pre-construction activities
  • September 2012 — Begin door-to-door visits to property owners along corridor to discuss vegetation clearing and encroachment removals; Dominion team will work with property owners to remove encroachments
  • November 2012 — Begin tree-trimming and vegetation clearing in the right-of-way
  • Spring 2013 — Construction of line from Oakwood Substation to-Shore drive to begin
  • Late 2013 — Target date to complete and energize transmission line

Phase Two: Shore Drive (underground line)

  • 2013/2014 — Permitting and right-of-way preparation activities anticipated, pending approvals

Phase Three: (Shore Drive to Burton Substation) 

  • 2014/2015 — Permitting and right-of-way activities anticipated, pending approvals
Route Map
Project Description

The existing lattice-style towers in the right-of-way will be removed and replaced with steel monopole structures approximately the same height that can support greater capacity. The line will continue to operate at 115kV. 

  • Approximate total line length — 5 miles  
  • Right-of-Way — No additional right-of-way needed; tree clearing will be needed to provide clear access to structures
  • Typical structure description — View a diagram of the existing lattice-style towers and the proposed monopole steel structures.
Need for the Project

The existing 115 kV transmission line in this right-of-way was constructed in the early 1960s. By upgrading the line, Dominion will be adding much-needed capacity to strengthen the electrical grid and better serve the Norfolk and Virginia Beach area, including the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. Dominion and the localities are working together to ensure the success of this important infrastructure project while remaining sensitive to the needs and concerns of neighboring property owners.

Community Engagement

Dominion is committed to engaging with stakeholders and the public prior to and during the project’s development and construction. We began public outreach early in 2012.


  • Spring 2012 — Meetings were held with local elected officials and other stakeholders to discuss the project and develop strategies for remaining sensitive to the needs of the residents impacted by construction.
  • July 2012 — Dominion contacted property owners in the City of Norfolk by certified mail about upcoming right-of-way assessment activities. View a copy of this letter. Dominion representatives from the Right-of-Way and Forestry teams began meeting with property owners to identify and address unauthorized vegetation and items in the right-of-way.
  • September 2012 — Dominion notified property owners and residents in the City of Norfolk of its upcoming informational open house event. View this notification.
  • October 2012 — Dominion held an informational open house event to provide stakeholders and the public additional information about this project, including simulations of the rebuilt transmission line, and larger aerial maps. Subject matter experts will be on hand to answer questions. View the newspaper advertisement.
  • February 2013 — Dominion held a construction open house event to provide stakeholders and property owners with detailed information about the planned construction activities in the right-of-way. View a copy of the letter and fact sheet mailed to property owners sharing this information, as well as a postcard announcing the event.
Contact Us

Contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Oakwood-Burton upgrade project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this project require additional right-of-way?

No, the rebuilt transmission line will be constructed within the existing right-of-way, and will not require additional right-of-way.

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

By rebuilding this existing 115kV line and constructing a new substation directly on the naval base, Dominion can better serve the Navy’s expanding facilities and improve power quality and reliability for the surrounding community. These improvements will support continued growth and economic development in the Cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach by adding needed capacity to serve the area and our nation’s critical facilities. For area residents and businesses, improved reliability means fewer outages and shorter durations when outages do occur.

Will tree clearing be necessary for this line?

Yes. Trees and other vegetation in the right-of-way will be carefully removed prior to construction to ensure safe and reliable operation of the transmission line. Certain types of vegetation outside the right-of-way that could also threaten the safe and reliable operation of the transmission lines may also need to be removed. 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.  Existing low-growing vegetation may be left in place when it does not interfere with construction activities.

Debris that is adjacent to homes will be removed from the area. Stumps will be ground six inches below the surface. 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, and erosion control devices will be used on an ongoing basis during all clearing activities.

Please note: Dominion’s certified foresters will meet with affected property owners to discuss the plan for trimming and/or removal of trees or vegetation before the work occurs.

What if I have a shed under the power lines—can crews work around it?

This summer, Dominion Right-of-Way representatives have been working to identify unauthorized "encroachments" within the transmission line right-of-way that must be removed and/or relocated. An "encroachment" refers to any item within the transmission right-of-way that interferes with Dominion’s ability to operate and maintain its facilities in a safe and reliable manner. Encroachments may include sheds, playhouses, barns, trailers, dumpsters, pools, porches, decks, vehicles, boats, flagpoles, light poles, or unauthorized vegetation. Dominion’s representatives will notify property owners of any items that must be removed from the right-of-way, and work with each one on a case-by-case basis to assist with the removal process.

While we respect that Dominion’s right-of-way is located on or adjacent to your property, Dominion must prepare the right-of-way for safe construction associated with the upgrade of the transmission line. Unauthorized items within the right-of-way must be removed, regardless of how long they have been located in the right-of-way. For additional information, please review Understanding Right-of-Way Easements.

After the project is completed, can I put my shed and fence back or plant trees on the easement?

Dominion will remove all fences from the transmission easement during construction. After completion of the project, we will restore the original fences to their former location, with gates for access to the right-of-way. Sheds may not be placed back in the easement at any time. Vegetation can be planted in the easement, but must be approved by Dominion for safety reasons.

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

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 mitigate any impacts. Dominion also submits annual Erosion and Sedimentation (E&S) Control Specifications for the construction and maintenance of transmission lines to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for review and approval. This project will be submitted 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.

Will Dominion repair damage due to construction?

Yes. Our easement agreements allow us access to private roads of property owners crossed by the right of way. 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 other items such as crop damage, and repair or replace fences or gates if we damage them.

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:

What will happen to my fence during this project?

Rosenbaum Fence Company has been hired to carry out the fencing activities. Rosenbaum representatives will meet with each property owner along the right-of-way to discuss the plan for removing the existing fences and place a temporary fence around the work zone.

The existing fences will be removed from the work area until construction ends, and then placed back in the original location (with removable access panels or gates as needed). During construction, a temporary fence will be installed to secure the work site. The location of this temporary fencing will be determined on a property-by-property basis, based on the proximity to transmission towers and other factors.

Rosenbaum will explain these details during in-person visits at each residence. For more information, please contact Rusty Kellam, Rosenbaum Project Manager at (757) 871-9323.

NYSE : (April 15, 2014) D 70.57 0.34