Roanoke, Va., October 14, 2005 – Within the next two weeks all of the towers for Appalachian Power’s 765 kV project will be erected and the construction phase of the nation’s largest power line project essentially becomes a wire-pulling operation.

In total, 333 towers are needed across the 90-mile route from Wyoming Station, in Wyoming County, W.Va., to Jacksons Ferry Station, in Wythe County, Va. Of those, 111 are self-supporting, four-legged towers constructed from the ground up, while 222 are “V” shaped towers supported with guy wires.

Next week a heavy-lift helicopter will deliver eight partially assembled guyed-V towers to hard-to-access areas in Bland and Wythe counties. The remaining five towers will be constructed with a crane by the end of the month.

“It is extremely gratifying to reach this construction milestone,” said Ron Poff, project manager. “Last winter’s wet weather challenged our construction team, and through dedication and extraordinary effort, the project is on pace to meet the target completion date in late June.”
A special Boeing 234 Chinook helicopter, operated by Columbia Helicopters, Inc., in Portland, Ore., arrives in the area Sunday. The Chinook will deliver partially assembled towers in two major pieces. First masts, or legs, are delivered to the site and received by ground crews who secure guy wires and ensure the tower is plumb. The Chinook then returns and slowly lowers the bridge while crews guide it into specially fabricated brackets that hold the bridge into place.
This specialized helicopter can lift up to 24,000 pounds.  On average Appalachian’s guyed-V towers weigh 50,000 pounds. The Chinook’s activity should conclude within a week. However, a smaller helicopter will continue to work on the project delivering lighter components and equipment.
Wire-pulling operations, or stringing electricity conductors on the towers, began in June on the northern end of the project and continues into early June 2006. To help reduce noise from the project, the new power line uses a six-bundle conductor configuration, the first in North America.

Appalachian built a mile of six-bundle test conductor on an existing 765 kV line in Floyd, Va., in 1995, and learned that the configuration cut the audible noise from the transmission line approximately in half.

Appalachian Power proposed construction of a new 765 kV line in 1990 to address a growing customer demand in its West Virginia and Virginia service territory. Peak customer demands in the area have more than doubled since the last major transmission line to serve the area was put in service in 1973. Appalachian predicts that by mid-2006 when the Wyoming-Jacksons Ferry line is energized, peak demand will be nearly triple the 1973 load.

Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.   It is a unit of American Electric Power, the nation’s largest electricity generator.  AEP owns more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity and is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states.

Todd Burns

Corporate Communications Manager

(540) 985-2912, cell 540-798-2686

pager 1-888-956-2447


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