Corporate

Arlington: Radnor Heights 230 kV Underground Transmission Lines and Substation

Dominion Virginia Power is committed to providing reliable electricity to our customers, and this sometimes requires the upgrade and construction of additional electric facilities. In addition to providing reliable electricity to our customers in a safe and economical manner, Dominion is also obligated to comply with the reliability standards of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and must maintain its electric facilities to meet these standards.

Dominion is constructing 3.7 miles of new 230kV underground electric transmission lines and a new electrical substation to support future growth and continue to provide reliable electricity to our customers in Arlington County.

Project Details

Construction Updates

In December 2010, Dominion began construction of a new 3.7-mile underground transmission line and is preparing for a new substation on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The line starts at the substation located at Wilson Boulevard and Fairfax Drive and ends at the substation near Jeff Davis Highway and I-395. This project consists of three phases.

10th Street/Arlington Blvd. interchange to JBM-HHCompleted March 2011 

  • Duct banks to protect underground cable were installed under Arlington Blvd/Route 50 from 10th Street west of Route 50 to the proposed Radnor Heights substation site on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
  • Construction activities included open-cut trenching, horizontal boring under Route 50, duct bank installation, and construction site restoration.
  • Restoration activities included asphalt and curb repair, soil refurbishment, reseeding, and replanting.

Note:  Cable pulling activities will begin in 2013. These activities will not require additional excavation or earth work.

10th Street between Wilson Blvd and Route 50 — Completed February 2012

  • Installation of duct banks and "manholes" (underground vaults housing the connections between cable sections) under 10th Street from Wilson Blvd east toward Route 50.
  • Construction activities included open-cut trenching along 10th Street, duct bank and manhole installation, and construction site restoration.
  • Restoration activities included asphalt and curb repair, soil refurbishment, reseeding, and replanting as needed.

Note: Cable pulling activities will also be completed in 2013, and will not require additional excavation or earth work once the pavement is restored.

JBM-HH substation site to Marshall Drive & Route 110 — For completion in 2013

  • This work will take place on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall from the proposed Radnor Heights substation to Marshall Drive south along Route 110. This phase will consist of similar activities that took place during the first two phases as well as construction of the substation and façade on JBM-HH. Completion of this phase will also include pulling the cables into place for the entire 3.7-mile span of the project, "splicing" (joining) the cables, and final refurbishing of the construction sites.

We recognize that an infrastructure project of this magnitude can cause disruption. We will work very closely with our contractors as well as VDOT and local officials to minimize any disturbance while ensuring a safe operation within your community. We appreciate your patience as we complete this critical project for the Arlington community.

If you have any questions, please send an email to powerline@dom.com or call 1-888-291-0190 to speak with one of our representatives Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Project Description

The addition of the new 230 kV underground transmission lines will allow the new substation and existing substations to be networked (interconnected) into the electrical transmission system, or grid. Should service to a station be interrupted from one direction, service will be available from another direction.

  • Dominion is planning to install 2.6 miles of underground transmission lines from an existing substation in the vicinity I-395 and Jefferson Davis Highway to the new Radnor Heights substation on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH).
  • Dominion is also planning to install 1.1 miles of underground transmission lines on public roadways from the new Radnor Heights substation on JBM-HH to existing Ballston substation at 3245 Wilson Blvd.
  • Transmission line construction activities will include open-cut trenching followed by duct bank or steel pipe installation, then pavement or site restoration and lastly cable pulling. 

 

Need For The Project

In Summer of 2012, certain operating contingencies in the Arlington area could cause transmission line overloads, resulting in a violation of NERC Reliability Standards.  Therefore, Dominion is planning to construct 3.7 miles of new 230kV underground electric transmission lines and a new electrical substation to bring transmission system into compliance and help Dominion support future growth and maintain electric service reliability for our customers in Arlington County.

Route Map

View a route map of this transmission project.

Route Details

The route for the 3.7-mile transmission line project begins near existing Dominion facilities in the vicinity of I-395 and Jefferson Davis Highway and continues north, parallel to and on the east side of Route 110.  After going under the overpass/interchange with Route 27, the route crosses Route 110 to follow the edge of Arlington National Cemetery. It will continue under Memorial Drive and turn west onto Marshall Drive.

The route for the transmission lines will then cross the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBMHH) and enter a proposed substation located in the northwest region of JBMHH.  Leaving the proposed substation and JBMHH, the route crosses the Arlington Boulevard and Courthouse Road interchange and continues down 10th Street before turning north for a short distance onto Wilson Boulevard and entering the existing Ballston Substation.  The majority of the proposed project will be constructed on federal property and within public roadways.

SCC Process and Application

Approval by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) is required for all electric transmission facilities of 138,000 volts (138 kV) or more in Virginia, which includes this project. The SCC has regulatory authority over the need, route and environmental impact of electric transmission lines in Virginia.

The SCC assigns a Hearing Examiner to the case, issues a procedural schedule and holds a public hearing where anyone may address the SCC.  The Hearing Examiner serves as a judge at the hearing and will issue a report making recommendations to the SCC Commissioners.  The Commissioners review all of the evidence and the Hearing Examiner's recommendations before issuing a final order. If the SCC approves the project, the company can proceed with construction of the transmission facilities in compliance with all applicable state and federal environmental regulations.

  • An application was filed by Dominion on February 9, 2010 with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval of the 230 kV underground transmission lines and substation.
  • On July 21, 2010, the SCC issued a Final Order approving and authorizing the construction of the Radnor Heights underground transmission lines and substation. The application and Final Order are available to the public on the SCC Docket Search section of the SCC web site, in the "Search Cases" section.  Case number PUE-2010-00004 was assigned to this project.
Target Schedule
  • First Quarter 2010 — Filed SCC Application
  • Third Quarter 2010 — SCC issued a Final Order approving and authorizing the construction of the Radnor Heights underground transmission lines and substation.
  • Fourth Quarter 2010 — Community outreach and construction notification 
  • First Quarter 2011 — Pending necessary approvals, begin transmission line construction
  • Fourth Quarter 2013 — Complete and energize new substation on JBMHH
  • Fall 2013 — Complete transmission line work in Arlington

–> View our Project Fact Sheet.

Contact Us

Contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Radnor Heights project.

Questions and Answers

Why does Arlington need these new transmission facilities?

The new infrastructure project is necessary to ensure Dominion can continue to provide reliable electric service to our customers in Arlington County, consistent with mandatory NERC Reliability Standards and the company's planning criteria.  System load flow models show that Dominion's transmission facilities will not meet NERC Reliability Standards if this project is not in service by summer of 2012.  Failure to address the projected NERC Reliability Standard violation could lead to loss of service and potentially damage electrical facilities in Arlington County.

Specifically, the addition of the proposed 230 kV lines will allow the new substation and existing substations to be networked (interconnected) into the electrical transmission system, or grid. Should service to a station be interrupted from one direction, service will be available from another direction.

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

The new 230 kV line will provide increased operational flexibility and continued reliable electric service to our customers in Arlington County.

Will Dominion require right-of-way from private owners for the construction of these facilities?

No.  Dominion is proposing to install the new transmission line underneath public roadways and federal property

What will be involved in the construction of the underground lines?

In order to minimize traffic and community disruption, the transmission lines will be constructed in sections.  Construction of the underground transmission lines will include open-cut trenching, followed by duct bank or steel pipe installation, then pavement or site restoration and lastly cable pulling.  In several areas, boring or tunneling will be used instead of open-cut trenching.

View pictures of this process from a similar power line project.

This will impact traffic. How does Dominion plan to mitigate those impacts?

Maintaining public safety is the most important objective during any construction project. Installation of the underground lines will require lane closures in some areas. We will work with the County of Arlington and the Virginia Department of Transportation to create traffic control plans. Construction will be limited to certain times during the day to reduce traffic congestion. In nonresidential areas, it may be possible to work at night to avoid traffic. Proper flagging and signage will be used to minimize delays and make it as easy as possible for you to get where you're going.

How long will construction last?

We anticipate that it will take approximately 18 months to complete the construction of the underground transmission line. Construction is scheduled to start in January 2011 and be completed by June 2012.

Construction always creates temporary impacts, and Dominion's goal is to reduce those impacts wherever possible.

What about noise?

Construction will involve a certain amount of noise. Asphalt will be cut, construction equipment will be used to dig (and in some areas to bore or tunnel), dump trucks will be removing material from the site, concrete trucks will deliver the thermal backfill, and asphalt will be delivered, laid down and rolled. In residential areas, the work hours will be limited to day hours between morning and afternoon traffic rush hours so people returning home in the afternoon from work should not be affected. Dominion anticipates that the construction impacts will be of short duration as the construction area moves down the street.

What about power outages?

No planned outages (electric service interruptions) are involved in this project.

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

As part of the SCC application preparation process, Dominion conducted 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. The company 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.  We invite you to read our Corporate Environmental Policy and our Greenhouse Gas report.

Where may I obtain more information on the project’s SCC application?

The Virginia State Corporation Commission will schedule a public hearing and an evidentiary hearing and provide the opportunity to submit written public comments on the project.  Citizens are encouraged to participate in the process and provide input.  The SCC maintains copies of all documents related to the case.  When the SCC issues an order establishing the procedural schedule for the transmission line proceeding, updates about the status of the application can be found on the SCC Web site at www.scc.virginia.gov.

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