Update – October 2022
TVA has identified the preferred location for transmission improvements that would provide power for growing load and increase power reliability in Cullman Electric’s southern service area.
TVA evaluated each route using social, engineering, and environmental factors. Information sources included available data, aerial photography, limited onsite reviews, public review and comment, and property owner input. Based on public input and evaluation, the preferred route is expected to have the least overall project impacts of the alternatives.
TVA’s proposed 7.5-mile line would begin at Cullman Electric’s Helicon 161-kilovolt Substation at the intersection of County Road 40 and Helicon Road in Arley. The line will then extend to Cullman Electric’s Trade 161-kilovolt Substation on County Road 937 in Crane Hill adjacent to their existing Trade 46-kilovolt Substation.
The preferred route was Route 9 and consists of Segments 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, and 13 as presented online at the virtual open house from July 7 through August 8, 2022.
The new line will be built using primarily single- and double-pole (H-frame), steel structures centered on a new 100-foot-wide right of way.
Surveys of the right of way are scheduled to begin in winter 2022-2023.
Easement purchases are scheduled to begin in spring 2024.
Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2025.
The line is scheduled to be in service in winter 2025-2026.
The National Environmental Policy Act review is pending.
TVA is considering improvements to its transmission system that would provide power for growing load and increase power reliability in eastern Winston County and western Cullman County in Alabama.
Cullman Electric Cooperative (Cullman Electric) serves the southern end of its service territory with a combination of its own 46-kilovolt system and TVA’s 161-kilovolt power lines. A good portion of Cullman Electric’s 46-kilovolt system was built in the 1950s and 1960s. Cullman Electric has evaluated options for either refurbishing their 46-kilovolt system or requesting new 161-kilovolt power lines from TVA’s nearby transmission system. TVA and Cullman Electric have determined the most cost-effective solution for these situations is to convert to a 161-kilovolt operation and retire the 46-kilovolt facilities. The conversion from Cullman Electric’s 46-kilovolt sub-transmission system to TVA’s 161-kilovolt system has increased the amount of exposure and respective risk to the 161-kilovolt system.
TVA is proposing to build about seven and a half miles of the single-circuit, 161-kilovolt transmission line. The Helicon-Trade 161-kilovolt Transmission Line would serve as a tie between two Cullman Electric 161-kilovolt stations: the existing Helicon Station in Arley and the Trade Station in Crane Hill. The Trade Station is currently being converted from 46- to 161-kilovolt operation, and a new TVA line is underway to be complete in fall 2023.
These stations are currently on radial feeds (one source of power from TVA). This project will connect two stations while also providing greater reliability for several others.
TVA’s proposed line will increase system reliability and operational flexibility, allowing the electrical load to be served from an alternate source during outages or maintenance. This improvement would likewise increase reliability for much of the Cullman Electric service territory, including eastern Winston County and western Cullman County.
There are 13 alternative line segments and 12 alternative line routes under consideration for the route of the new transmission line.
The new line would consist primarily of single- and double-pole (H-frame), steel structures centered on a new 100-foot-wide right of way.
Property owners near and along the alternative transmission line segments have been invited to a virtual open house by mail – including about 72 property owners representing about 118 parcels.
The virtual open house is available from July 7 through August 8, 2022, at tvavirtual.com/helicon
Property owners and members of the public are invited to submit comments and questions about this proposed transmission project through August 8, 2022.
The project is expected to be in service in winter 2025-2026. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2025. (Dates are subject to change -- unexpected issues may arise, resulting in the need to adjust the schedule.)
The map shows the area of the proposed transmission improvements. The map is also available below as a PDF file.
If you have questions or need help understanding the map, please contact TVA (see below).
(Dates are subject to change - unexpected issues may arise, resulting in the need to adjust the schedule.)
|Virtual Open House begins
|July 7, 2022
|Comments accepted through
|August 8, 2022
|Determine preferred route for field surveys
|Surveys of the right of way are scheduled to begin
|Easement purchases are scheduled to begin
|Construction is scheduled to begin
|Project in service
The appropriate National Environmental Policy Act review will be conducted to ensure that the environmental impacts are minimized. TVA attempts to minimize any land requirements, private property impacts, and environmental impacts associated with this project.
Efforts are made during the siting process to avoid or minimize impacts to floodplains and wetlands in accordance with Executive Orders 11988 and 11990. Floodplains and wetlands are shown on the referenced map. The map illustrates how the route avoids or impacts floodplains and wetlands. Because of project and topographic constraints and because of minimizing impacts to other social, environmental, and engineering resources, no practicable alternative may be available that would allow complete avoidance of impacts to floodplains and wetlands which may require mitigation for minimizing impacts. Also, best management practices would be utilized throughout the project to minimize adverse floodplain and wetland impacts. In compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, TVA will be coordinating wetland findings with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
More information on this project can be obtained from: