Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion, filed an application Thursday with the Virginia State Corporation Commission to build a 15.7-mile power line to serve customers in Loudoun County, the fastest growing county in the United States.

The 230,000-V transmission line is needed to ensure electric service reliability in the high-growth Northern Virginia county, which projects its population to increase from about 169,600 in 2000 to about 300,400 in 2010, or 77%. The line is needed by the summer of 2008 to alleviate potential electrical overloading on existing circuits in western Loudoun County that could cause equipment failure and extended outages.

The power line, which is estimated to cost about US$30 million, would transmit electricity between the existing Pleasant View substation east of Leesburg to a proposed substation near the town of Hamilton west of Leesburg.

Dominion has met frequently with Loudoun County officials, a group of county and town civic leaders that was formed to assist the company, neighborhood associations and individual citizens to discuss this project. About 275 citizens attended a company-sponsored, two-night workshop last October to review maps and proposed route segments.

As a result of these meetings, Dominion announced it would not pursue the use of the full length of its existing right-of-way along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail through Leesburg for the power line. Many residents and users of the trail spoke about keeping the trail, which is part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, as free of new lines as possible.

"This project has been a real challenge. Our proposed expansion is critical to maintaining reliable electric service to this dynamic region where electrical load growth has increased 11 percent in the past six years," said Paul D. Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion Energy. "We listened to people's concerns and we believe we are addressing the energy needs of the region with the best possible route and alternate routes for these communities."

The proposed route proceeds south from the Pleasant View substation east of Leesburg and parallels the existing transmission line for approximately 1.7 miles. It then turns west and proceeds approximately 4.4 miles to U.S. Route 15, crossing Route 643 (Sycolin Road), Route 267 (Dulles Greenway), Route 621 (Evergreen Mills Road), and Route 650 (Gleedsville Road). After crossing U.S. Route 15, the route proceeds north and west for approximately 7.3 miles to Virginia Route 7 Bypass, crossing Route 797 (Mt. Gilead Road), Route 704 (Harmony Church Road), Foxfield Lane, Route 769 (Woodburn Road), Route 820 (Canby Road), Route 707 (Digges Valley Road), and Virginia Route 7 Business (Colonial Highway). The route then turns west and parallels the north side of Virginia Route 7 Bypass for approximately 2.3 miles to the Hamilton Substation site.

Three of the alternate routes are similar to the proposed route. They vary primarily in how far south and west of Leesburg they cross the county. The remaining two alternatives run either along a two-mile section of the W&OD Trail or along an existing transmission corridor north of the trail before joining Virginia Route 7 Bypass just around the south of Leesburg. The cost to build any of the routes ranges from $26 million to $30 million.

The application and related information can be viewed by visiting Dominion's Web site at: www.dom.com/about/elec-transmission/powerline/westloudoun/index.jsp. The application is also available at Dominion's offices in Richmond (Riverside Building, 5th floor, 120 Tredegar Street) and Leesburg (620 Sycolin Road SE), the Loudoun County Government Center (County Administration, 1 Harrison Street SE, Leesburg, Va., attention Office of County Attorney) and the Town of Leesburg (25 West Market Street, Leesburg, VA, attention Zoning Counter).