- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Appalachian Power is planning a $130 million upgrade of electric transmission infrastructure in western Virginia and southern West Virginia.

The Virginia project, which will cost $50 million, includes a new substation in Buchanan County and improvements at three existing substations in Tazewell County, Appalachian Power said Monday in a news release.

The company also plans to build about 8 miles of new 138-kilovolt transmission line in the two Virginia counties. About 8.5 miles of an existing 69-kilovolt line in Tazewell County will be upgraded to 138 kilovolts, along with about 3.5 miles of the line in West Virginia.

Appalachian Power plans to spend $80 million to upgrade transmission infrastructure in McDowell County, W.Va. The project includes retiring and removing 35 miles of 88-kilovolt transmission line and upgrading about 17 miles of a 34.5-kilovolt to 88-kilovolt transmission line to 138 kilovolts.

Appalachian Power said two substations will be removed and three new substations will be built in the county. Improvements are planned at other substations in the county.

Wood H-frame tower structures will be replaced with steel H-frame structures in both states. The steel structures are taller and sturdier, the company said.

Both projects are expected to be completed in 2017, pending approval by Virginia and West Virginia regulators.

Informational workshops are scheduled in Virginia Feb. 24 at Tazewell Middle School and Feb. 25 at Richlands High School.

A workshop on the West Virginia project is set for Feb. 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Southside Middle School in War, W.Va.

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