Have you driven Dale Boulevard this week? Chances are good, especially good if you live in Dale City, you have driven on that street. Did you see the huge swath of trees missing on both sides of the street between Hillendale Drive and Greenwood Drive? All the way from the sidewalk, up each hillside, it is bare. I bet you nearly got whiplash from cranking your head so fast to see what the heck happened!
What happened? Dominion Power happened. This was not unexpected. I actually attended a LOCCA/PELT (Lake Ridge Occoquan Coles Civic Association/ Planning, Environment, Land Use and Transportation committee) meeting in October, 2011, where a team from Dominion Power came to advise the public of impending work the company would be commencing in the summer of 2012.
Their agenda included plans to rebuild a portion of an existing 115 kV overhead electric transmission line in order to support load growth and ensure electric system reliability.
Within Prince William County,the line comes from the north (Fairfax County), and crosses the Occoquan River into Prince William County. From that point the line heads southward for approximately 2.06 miles prior to angling westward at what Dominion refers to as the Minnieville Junction.
A team from Dominion attended the LOCCA/PELT meeting and discussed the following topics:
Our energy challenge
Understanding the need for the project
Dominion's proposed solution
It all seemed pretty straightforward. Dominion needed to replace their existing lines with bigger, better lines to meet the needs of the community. Knowing we depend on electricity for everything, there certainly was no need for anyone of us at that meeting to dispute the plans Dominion shared with us.
I completely understood Dominion would be clearing trees to perform this work. I agreed it was certainly necessary. I supported the proposed work and applauded Dominion’s efforts to perform this work before demands became too much for the current load and we all found ourselves in the dark.
What I did not understand, and certainly do not agree with today is the mess they intend to leave facing both sides of the main street in our town.
I’m alright with what they cut. I believe that was necessary. (Perhaps such a wide swath was not needed, but I give them the benefit of the doubt.) After the recent derecho and the looming possibility of more powerful storms causing trees to fall on transmission lines, I understand why we don’t want trees within striking distance.
What I am not all right with is Dominion’s intent to leave all those tree stumps sticking out of the ground and letting vegetation grow back wild. This is a perfect opportunity for some low growing, flowering, attractive landscaping and small trees at street level to beautify the appearance of Dale Boulevard. If you have any doubt just how wild an unkempt that will look, drive up to Minnieville, across from Cheshire Station and look at that hideous mess.
Come on, people! I know we don’t live in million dollar mansions, but that certainly does not mean we have to live in a jungle. Does it?
Please write, call or email Dominion and ask they landscape both sides of the street on Dale Boulevard. If you need an idea for your letter, the letter sent from Neabsco Action Alliance is with the pictures. My contact there is:
Dominion Resources Services, Inc.
Deborah Thompkins Johnson
Manager – Regional, State & Local Affairs
3072 Centreville Road
Herndon, VA 20171