Virginia State Corporation Commission orders rebuilding of transmission line connected to bridge

Published on December 27, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) recently directed Dominion Energy Virginia to rebuild the 115-kilovolt transmission line currently connected to the Norris Bridge under the Rappahannock River between Lancaster and Middlesex Counties, Virginia.

The SCC found that underwater construction reasonably minimizes adverse impacts of the replacement line. The commission determined that the current capacity of the Rappahannock River crossing is sufficient to meet existing and projected load but replacement of the line die to extensive out-of-service conditions.

“The current configuration of the line – attached to an existing bridge of substantial height and length – has served to minimize impacts of the line,” the SCC said. Because attachment to the bridge is no longer feasible, “it is technically viable,” the commission added, to build and operate the replacement transmission line under the Rappahannock River.

The commission evaluated more than 15 alternatives for rebuilding the segment in the case. SCC approval is conditioned on the Dominion Energy Virginia obtaining any other approvals required for underwater construction.

The company initially planned to replace approximately 2.2 miles of existing line with a higher voltage, overhead alternative on 10 steel tower structures located approximately 100 feet east of the bridge.