WELCH, WV (WVNS) — Representatives from Appalachian Power announced an upgrade is coming to a county in West Virginia.

On Monday, March 13, 2023, Appalachian Power representatives announced an upgrade to the transmission system in McDowell County as part of the Sourwood-Hales Branch Transmission Line Rebuild Project. The project involves rebuilding about 11 miles of 138-kilovolt electric transmission line. The upgrades begin at the Sourwood Substation in Iaeger, WV, and end at the Hales Branch Substation in Grundy, VA.

The improvements are necessary to ensure reliable electric service to customers and to maintain safety of the area’s powerlines and power grid.

“The existing transmission line was built with wooden poles and is showing age-related wear. It’s important to upgrade this equipment with modern steel poles and structures to meet current electric safety standards and improve reliable electric service in the area.”

George Porter, Appalachian Power spokesperson.

The project team is seeking community input on route options at select areas along the power line route to rebuild the line. Though most of the line will be rebuilt in place, there are deviations where a new right-of-way will be needed. Landowners and community members will be able to attend two open-houses to give input.

The open houses will be held on Tuesday, April 4, at Mount View High School cafeteria and Wednesday, April 5, at Twin Valley High School cafeteria, from 5p.m. to 7p.m., the open houses will be available for community input.

Residents who are unable to attend the open house, are asked to consider visiting the project website and virtual open house on AEP’s website.