Loudoun Co. residents voice concerns over proposed routes for power lines

SOUTH RIDING, Va. — The back-and-forth over some planned high voltage power lines in Loudoun County continued Tuesday night as people shared their opinions of two new proposed routes for the lines.

Dominion Virginia Power wants to add 230kv transmission lines with 110 foot tall towers along part of U.S. 50 in Loudoun County to a planned new substation at Poland Road.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission held a hearing in at Freedom High School in South Riding about two new proposed routes for those lines — known as Alternatives 4 and 5 — put forth by Loudoun County leaders.

Read detailed descriptions and see maps of the routes.

“Alternatives 4 and 5 each have a minimal impact to residential communities in the area,” said County Board of Supervisors Chairman Phyllis Randall.

County Planning Commission Chairman Jeff Salmon said there are more benefits to using one of the new alternatives.

“Alignments 4 and 5 help move the towers away from the 4 million square feet of commercial and retail (development) currently planned for the corridor,” he said.

Still being considered are plans that would place the power lines close to the new StoneSprings Hospital Center in Dulles, which opened in December.

But Michelle Epps, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, said that would create a new safety hazard for helicopter pilots who fly in patients.

Those helicopters are already dealing with flight restrictions because the hospital is so close to Dulles Airport.

“Since we opened, not hardly more than three months ago, we’ve done almost a dozen transports from our helipad,” Epps said.

Also testifying was resident Edna Cross.

“To put the power lines along Route 50 is a sin. And to put it next to the hospital is an even greater sin,” she said.

Cross said she’s been a realtor in Loudoun County for 46 years.

“It will impact the homeowners and their equity in their homes,” she said of the project.

If you missed the hearing and want to submit written comments about the plan via email or postal mail, you have until May 6 to do so.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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