By Karen Hall
Cornersville residents know they need improvements to their electrical service, but few were enthusiastic about having a 161-kV transmission line cross their property. Residents of the south end of Marshall County will see an improvement to their electrical service by November 2014, after a larger substation and new transmission line are built.
The routes that line might take were discussed at an open house held in the high school cafeteria Thursday afternoon.
"It runs right across the best land I've got," said Tommy Upton of Lynnville Highway. The Tennessee Valley Authority will be buying easements from landowners for a 100-foot right of way for the new line. If the line runs across his property, Upton will still be able to use the land for grazing cattle, but cannot build anything on it. He had intended to subdivide it some time in the future.
"We've needed it for years, but nobody wants it to cross their land," Upton said. It's not certain which route the line will take. In addition to the proposed route crossing Upton's land, there are two others that pass over properties east of the CSX railroad tracks.
Upton also raised concerns about the amount landowners will be paid for their easements. The state's going to appraise the land, he said, and the value won't be anything like it would have been five years ago.
"We need to be paid dearly if they cross us," Upton concluded.
Another of the proposed routes passes across the backside of Alderman Doris Arthur's property.
"I'm not upset about it at all," Arthur said. "Progress has got to be made. We all have to give a little."
Cornersville's present 46-kV substation on Old Ostella Road is 46 years old, and is projected to be overloaded in three years. It is supplied by a 46-kV transmission line from Belfast. Duck River Electric Membership Corporation proposes to build a new 161-kV substation across the street from the existing one, which will then be retired. TVA will supply the new substation with a 161-kV transmission line branching off the Belfast-Elk Ridge line. The line from Belfast to the old substation will be de-energized when the new construction is complete.
The map supplied by TVA at the open house shows three possible routes for the transmission line, ranging in length from 4 to 5.5 miles, and residents' comments are encouraged until the Dec. 17 deadline.
"Information we receive ... throughout the comment period will be used to identify a preferred route along with engineering,environmental, land use, cultural, and cost information," stated TVA. "A decision on the preferred route is expected by winter 2012-2013."
TVA estimates the project will be in service in two years, but states, "Unexpected issues may result in the need to adjust the schedule."