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Dominion Energy’s Rappahannock River Crossing Underwater Electric Transmission Line Project, formerly known as the Norris Bridge Electric Transmission Line Rebuild and Relocation Project, plans to address the aging portion of Line #65, approximately 2 miles, crossing the Rappahannock River. This stretch needs to be upgraded and relocated off the Norris Bridge. The entire 38-mile transmission line will remain 115 kV.

Updates

Benefits

  • Replace aging infrastructure - in place since 1962
  • Increase reliability and efficiency.
  • Maintain safety for Dominion Energy and VDOT crews
  • Lessen potential hazards to the public.

Overview & Project Description

We currently operate an overhead 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line that, for about 2-miles, crosses the Rappahannock River and is partially attached to the Norris Bridge (Route 3). The two mile river crossing is part of a single 115 kV transmission line (Line #65) that runs for about 38 miles between our Northern Neck Substation in Richmond County and our Harmony Village Substation in Middlesex County. This provides critical electric service to approximately 19,000 customers in the area and is a primary source of electric power to the Northern Neck peninsula.

The current transmission line includes seven wooden H-frame structures in the water and 14 attachments to the bridge. The Rappahannock River Crossing Project will replace the aging wooden poles and bridge attachments.

The approved project will replace the existing overhead transmission line and partially attached to the Norris Bridge with an underground transmission line.

Once the new line is constructed, the wooden poles and the attachments on the bridge will be removed.

In its findings, the State Corporation Commission has confirmed that this rebuild project is needed and will improve electric reliability for the 16,000 homes and businesses in the Northern Neck area that depend on us.

Photo Simulations

Photo simulations and diagrams provide representational views of proposed electric transmission facilities. These illustrations do not necessarily depict exact structure design or physical placement. All projects are subject to change and to final engineering.

Depictions of previously considered options

  • Truescape photo simulations based on the current proposed solution – please note the proper way to view these based on the viewing instructions contained in the document – June 2016
    • If not scaled appropriately, the photo simulations will not be viewed as intended. In order to set the scale on your pdf, please go to the pdf’s “View” tab and choose the Show/Hide folder and then click on Rulers and Grid -> Rulers. Once the Ruler shows along the top of the page, click on the zoom function until the Ruler notes 4 inches wide.
  • NB+C Photo simulations based on the current proposed solution that will be submitted in our SCC application – Feb. 2016
  • Underground graphics, Plan View and Birds Eye View
  • Barnhardt Option 2 – Trenched Route Option Profile View
  • Fender System Schematic

Previous versions

Timeline

  • December 2021 - Energize line and complete project
  • Aug. 21, 2018 - Dominion Energy hosted a construction informational meeting for Rappahannock Transition Station. The site plan for the station was approved by the Lancaster County Board of Supervisors Aug. 30, 2018.
  • July 31, 2018 - Dominion Energy hosted a construction informational meeting for Greys Point Transition Station. The site plan for the station was approved by the Middlesex County Planning Commissioners Aug. 9, 2018.
  • December 21, 2017 - the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued its Final Order approving the project. The Commission found, among other things, that there is a need for the project and the rebuild will replace the transmission line currently attached to the Norris Bridge with an underground transmission line.
  • July 2016 - Newly produced photo renderings displayed at the White Stone Town Hall.
  • February 29, 2016 - Submitted application to the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
  • February 22, 2016 - week of March 7 – 115kV overhead line design photo renderings displayed at White Stone Town Hall
  • February 17, 2016 – Informational Open House, The Freeshade Community Center, Topping
  • February 11, 2016 - Informational Open House, Mount Vernon Baptist Church, White Stone
  • Fall 2015 - Began preliminary construction activities - However, construction-related activities are on hold pending review and approval through the SCC process
  • August 20, 2015 - Received Army Corps of Engineers permit approval
  • July 28, 2015 - Received VMRC permit approval
  • Spring 2015 - Submit permit applications to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE)
  • Spring 2015 - Public Announcement
  • Fall 2014 - Initial Engagement with Middlesex and Lancaster counties regarding project details

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is responsible for verifying the need, route and environmental impact of transmission lines in Virginia. Dominion Energy submitted its application regarding this project on February 29, 2016. On December 21, 2017, the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued its Final Order approving the project. The Commission found, among other things, that there is a need for the project and the rebuild will replace the transmission line currently partially attached to the Norris Bridge with an underground transmission line. Documents related to the case are made available to the public on the SCC Docket Search section of the SCC web site, in the "Search Cases" section (enter case number PUE-2016-00021). In addition, interested parties may also comment directly to the SCC by sending an email to sccinfo@scc.virginia.gov.

To learn more about this process, view our SCC process map.


Application Documents


Supplemental Filing

In accordance with the Hearing Examiner’s July 22 and August 3, 2016 rulings, Dominion Energy filed with the State Corporation Commission supplemental testimony and analysis regarding two additional rebuild configurations raised by case participant William Barnhardt. These two options are currently under consideration for approval in the case, in addition to the Company’s proposal and two alternatives included in its initial application filing.


Procedural Schedule

The following are the key dates and developments related to the SCC review timeline. For the most up-to-date and full listing of motions, rulings and other related documents, please refer to the SCC docket for this case.


Key Dates

  • December 21, 2017 - The Virginia State Corporation Commission issued its Final Order approving the project
  • September 18, 2017 - Company response to Hearing Examiner’s report and recommendations
  • August 21, 2017 - Hearing Examiner issues report and recommendations (Part 1, Part 2)
  • April 18, 2017 - Public Evidentiary Hearing (formerly March 15) - 10 a.m., in the Commission's second floor courtroom located in the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • April 18, 2017 - Public Comment Period Ends
  • March 15, 2017 - Public Hearing, 10am, Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • March 2, 2017 - Company Rebuttal Testimony due
  • February 7, 2017 - Staff Testimony due
  • January 30, 2017 - Respondent Testimony due
  • December 12, 2016 - Hearing Examiner rules to revise procedural schedule
  • October 31, 2016 - Company submitted supplemental testimony on its review of the two additional construction options per the July 22nd order.
  • September 20, 2016 - Public Hearing, 10 a.m., Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • August 3, 2016 - Hearing Examiner rules to revise procedural schedule
  • July 22, 2016 - Hearing Examiner rules for further analysis to be conducted on two additional construction options
  • July 6, 2016 - Local Public Hearing, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Lancaster Middle School, 191 School Street, Kilmarnock, Virginia 22482
  • June 7, 2016 - Notice of Participation due
  • March 18, 2016 - The SCC has issued an Order for Notice and Public Hearing which sets the procedural schedule for this case

SCC Approved Routes

  • Detailed Route Map: Underground Route (as of Feb. 29, 2016) - The underwater route approved shall use high-pressure, fluid-filled ("HPFF") cables installed below the riverbed by a horizontal directional drill ("HDD") construction method.

Routes previously under SCC consideration

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) regulates the construction and operation of electric transmission lines of 138kV and above. This project involves a transmission line at the 115kV level. The SCC ruled on December 11, 2015 that they are requiring Dominion Energy to submit an application for Commission review as this project has been deemed to be outside the ordinary extension or improvement in the usually course of doing business provision of the Virginia Code. The full docket related to this ruling can be found on the SCC’s website by searching for case number: PUE-2015-00109.

Dominion Energy plans to proceed with this important rebuild project safely and in accordance with all requirements, as it does for each of its projects.

Other Permitting Requirements

In April 2015, Dominion Energy applied for a permit from the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC), which regulates encroachment on Virginia’s bottomlands. The Company also filed a Joint Permit application with the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). The joint application through the ACOE facilitates and coordinates review from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coast Guard, and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

As of August 20, 2015, we received permitting review and approval through the VMRC and Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the existing line as an above-ground facility.

Recent Communications

Previous Communications

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FAQs

To do nothing puts residents, businesses and local government at risk of unreliable service. The existing transmission line is a primary source of electric power to approximately 19,000 customers and the Northern Neck area, meaning any failure on the existing river crossing facilities and its only contingency would result in a loss of electric service to that area.
Due to the interconnected nature of the electric transmission grid, all Northern Neck Electric Cooperative (NNEC) customers rely on Dominion Energy's transmission infrastructure to deliver reliable power.

Dominion Energy's electric transmission lines feed power to Dominion Energy and NNEC distribution lines, both of which serve the Northern Neck. The transmission line for this project ultimately serves approximately 13,200 Dominion Energy and 5,800 NNEC customers.
Yes. The SCC ruled on December 11, 2015 that they are requiring Dominion Energy to submit an application for Commission review as this project has been deemed be outside the ordinary extension or improvement in the usually course of doing business provision of the Virginia Code. The full docket related to this ruling can be found on the SCC’s website by searching for case number: PUE-2015-00109.
Yes. The company, at its expense, will repair any private roads damaged by Dominion Energy or its contractors during construction of the line or during future maintenance. In addition, we will reimburse property owners for crop damage and repair or replace fences or gates if they are damaged.
Our application before the SCC will include a routing study that reviews the environmental impacts, among others, of the project.

As part of the Virginia Marine and Corps permitting process, Dominion Energy completed an evaluation of potential environmental, cultural, and historical impacts of this project. Dominion Energy 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 and an anticipated list of transmission line projects for the construction and maintenance of transmission lines to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for review and approval. Our contractors receive copies of the E&S specifications and any additional permit conditions prior to construction and are directed to meet all requirements.

For additional information on our commitment to responsible stewardship of natural resources, environmental management and performance, view our Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility Report. We also invite you to read our Corporate Environmental Policy.
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