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Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at

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Dominion picks cheapest and most rural route for new transmission line

In selecting the route for its new transmission line to Dahlgren, Dominion Virginia Power picked the peoples’ choice—and the least expensive one.

Dominion announced through emails today that it chose Route C, the most rural of the five options suggested, for its new 230-kilovolt overhead line in King George County.

If approved by the State Corporation Commission, the new line would hook into Dominion’s current transmission line about 2,600 feet west of the intersection of State Route 3 and State Route 205, Ridge Road. From there, the route would cross over Eden Drive, then run parallel to U.S. 301 all the way to Dahlgren. The line would connect to the Navy base near Commerce Drive, “avoiding the  quickly developing areas along Route 301,” said Carla Picard, communications manager for Dominion.

Commerce Drive is across Route 301 from the new Walmart.

The project is expected to cost $36.4 million, according to Dominion’s application with the SCC. The bulk of that—$28.2 million—would go toward construction of the 9.43-mile line, while $8.2 million would be spent for the new substation on the Navy base.

Route C was preferred by the Community Input Group, which consisted of nine citizens representing various county groups. The public also preferred Route C at an open house in August, Dominion stated in its application.

Comments ranged from “appears to be best option given No. 1 priority of impact in existing residential homes” to “best and shortest.”

Even though the route runs through a rural area, the single shaft steel poles of the overhead line will become an unwelcome change in the scenery to some residents. The route’s “most notable disadvantage”  is that it falls within a mile of 32 architectural and historic sites, according to Dominion’s application.The company said it would consult with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to see how it might lessen impact to those sites.

Other details of the proposed route include:

It’s not within 100 feet of any homes. Three residences are within 200 feet of the route, and 62 homes are within 500 feet.

Its centerline crosses 43 private parcels.

It crosses six county or local roads in addition to Route 301.

It crosses about .4 mile of a planned subdivision (Alto Estates) but avoids an existing one (Castle Creek).

The right-of-way probably will encompass almost seven acres of wetlands.

The route crosses one archaeological site, a shell heap that hasn’t been evaluated by the National Register of Historic Places.

Two bald eagle nests are within a quarter mile of the route, but both appear to be outside the primary buffer specified by the Bald Eagle Protection Guidelines for Virginia.

Dominion also included an alternative route in its application. That’s Route B, which runs north between State Route 206 and Route 301, then hits State Route 218 and goes north to Dahlgren.

Detailed maps of the route, as well as Dominion’s 144-page application to the SCC, are available at its website.

Here’s this morning’s notice from the power company: Dominion’s email