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APCO begins last phase of work on $110M upgrade of Charleston's power system

The final phase of Appalachian Power’s $110 million upgrade to transmission lines and power substations in Charleston is underway and expected to be completed by the end of November, the power company announced on Tuesday.

The work will cause sporadic traffic delays on Interstate 64-77 and temporary lane closures on Kanawha Boulevard-U.S. 60 in the vicinity of the Kaufman Memorial Bridge starting Sept. 23, when crews begin installing new lines across those roads and the Kanawha River. Boating and commercial river traffic in the vicinity of the work may also be temporarily restricted.

During the following four Sundays, helicopter-assisted line installation across the interstate and the Kanawha River will take place between 7 and 11 a.m., depending on weather.

Transmission line work is underway along MacCorkle Avenue, between the Chesterfield Road substation in Kanawha City to 36th Street, and along 36th Street toward the Kanawha River. The final phase of transmission line work involves an upgrade stretching from a point near upper Wertz Avenue to a point near Oakridge Drive, and then traveling southward toward the Kanawha River near Kaufman Memorial Bridge.

Previously completed work on the project includes the construction of a new Bullitt Street substation and upgrades to the power company’s Washington Street and Capitol Hill substations. An expansion of the Chesterfield Avenue substation is underway.

About 5 miles of transmission line will have been installed by the time the project ends. Most of new line will be carried on 100-foot-tall towers built in 100-foot-wide rights-of-way.

Once all the upgrades are complete, Appalachian Power plans to remove by the end of the year a temporary line now connecting its Brooks Street and Washington Street substations.

“When complete, the work will increase reliability to customers while providing a robust network capable of handling future growth in the Charleston area,” according to Appalachian Power’s announcement.

The project will generate about $1.8 million in tax revenue annually, more than $900,000 of which will directly benefit Kanawha County Schools.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at, 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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Abner, James - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Black, Thomas - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

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Dolin, Clayton - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

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Simpkins, Anthony - 1 p.m., McGhee-Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Stone Jr., Darrell - 2 p.m., Smith Cemetery, Leon.

Thorne, Thomas - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mount Hope.