American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) Appalachian Power on April 18 said that it and its affiliate, AEP West Virginia Transmission Company, are working on improving electric power reliability to customers by upgrading the transmission systems in Fayette County, W.Va., through the $15m Pax Branch Transmission Line Upgrade project.
According to a project fact sheet, the project consists of rebuilding about six miles of the Pax Branch-Scarbro 46-kV transmission line to 69-kV standards. The Pax Branch-Scarbro line needs to be updated to increase electric reliability for customers, the fact sheet said, adding that replacing the aging infrastructure with modern equipment will reduce outages and decrease restoration times when outages do occur.
Appalachian Power said in its statement that it will replace existing wooden structures, originally built in the 1920s, with taller and sturdier steel structures, which will allow the company the opportunity to reduce the total number of structures along the route, minimizing the overall project footprint. All work will be done in or adjacent to existing right of way, and existing easements will need to be supplemented, Appalachian Power said.
Noting that about three miles of the rebuild goes through the Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA), the company said that normal recreational activities in that area will not be affected by project construction.
According to the fact sheet, the rebuild starts east of the Pax Branch substation and Route 23 and travels northeast towards the WMA. The line enters the WMA, crosses over Plum Orchard Lake, and continues northeast, staying just north of Route 21 before connecting with the Scarbro substation, the fact sheet added.
Appalachian Power said in its statement that it will host an open house on May 2 at the Pax Volunteer Fire Department to provide the community and impacted landowners with project details, as well as an opportunity to review proposed study segments and answer questions.
The company said that after the open house, project team members will use information gathered to solidify a final proposed route. Survey work is expected to begin this summer, with pre-construction activities to begin this fall, the company said. The project is expected to be complete by summer 2019, the company said.