As the fastest growing area in all of Knox County with a steady, but rising annual growth rate of 3.9%, the stress on basic fundamental infrastructure has also grown.
Hardin Valley Planning Advocates (HVPA), an organized community group that advocates for intentional growth, shared TVA's planned route on their Facebook page after the stakeholder meeting held on Monday, May 10.
HVPA, along with county officials and departments, have been working to improve infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the Hardin Valley community. With this, comes change. Hardin Valley has experienced significant residential growth which has directly impacted the need for transportation improvements, sewage capacity improvements, new schools, power improvements, rezoning ordinance review and updates, and overall area planning updates.
Over the course of the last 7 years, HVPA, along with other community groups and community leaders, have been implemental and committed to the local government process requirements to see that the Northwest Sector Plan was updated, a new middle school was built, a new Northwest Elementary School was placed on the 5 year capital plan, the Hardin Valley Traffic Mobility Study was conducted and completed, sewage pipe expansion was completed, road and safety improvements were implemented including the interchange at HV and Pellissippi and the Cherahala extension, inclusion of Hardin Valley as a census identified unincorporated community, inclusion of Hardin Valley and Melton Hill in the Greenway Corridor Study and the Water Trail Plan, the Planned Residential zoning ordinance review, and other small infrastructure related improvements like storm water drains, sidewalk repairs, crosswalks, residential amenities, vegetated buffers, attention to wildlife and conservation during development, and so much more.
HVPA founder and director, Kim Frazier had this to say, "Our community has been addressing infrastructure needs for over 7 years now and we have accomplished some great things (see list above), but the work that has been done and the improvements that we have seen have inadvertently disrupted our community and changed the landscape of our area. It's really a tough situation and it is our hope that county leaders use Hardin Valley as an exercise in how not to build a community and update and codify plans...then stick to them."
Naturally, these improvements cause minor and major interruptions in a community, especially when exponential growth forces a municipality to back-fit infrastructure. This is where HVPA, and other groups like KCPA, stand firm on the message that communities would benefit greatly from codified plans and studies....and then sticking to them.
TVA's official statement follows: Hardin Valley, Tennessee (tva.com)
Direct link on TVA’s website: https://www.tva.com/.../transmi.../hardin-valley-(tennessee)
· TVA will build 5.4 miles of single-circuit transmission line.
· The new line will provide power to the new Hardin Valley 161-kV Station planned by Lenoir City Utilities Board (LCUB).
· The new line will begin at a point between TVA’s Watt Road-Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Fort Loudoun-Watt Road 161-kV double-circuit Transmission Lines. The line will then extend northeast to LCUB’s new Hardin Valley 161-kV Station at 2007 Marietta Church Road in Knoxville.
· The preferred location for the new line was selected from several options presented online at a virtual open house from October 22 through November 23, 2020. Based on public input and evaluation, the preferred route is expected to have the least overall project impacts of the alternatives.
· The preferred route is alternative Route 33 which consists of Tap Point 3 and alternative Segments 3, 4, 20, 21, 7, 14, 15, and 16.
· During the comment period, TVA learned of a large commercial development planned for the area between the intersection of I-75/I-40 and Buttermilk Road. As a result, two new segments were added and the following adjustments were made to the network of alternatives before analysis and selection of the preferred route.
o A new segment, 20, was added to lessen the encroachment on the development in the vicinity of Segments 4 and 5.
o This resulted in Segments 1 and 4 being shortened and the need to add Segments 21 and 22.
· TVA will work with property owners to obtain easements for construction, operation, and maintenance of the line. Property owners are compensated for the transmission line easement at fair market value. When easement is acquired, property owners retain possession of the property.
LCUB currently provides distribution service in and around the Hardin Valley area with the Solway 161-kV Station. The Solway 161-kV Station is soon projected to exceed its capacity. In addition, the distribution lines supplying the Hardin Valley area are becoming overloaded due to steady growth in the area. Further, the nearby Watt Road and Karns 161-kV Stations are heavily loaded and do not have significant ties to the area to shift load from the Solway Station. The Hardin Valley area is the fastest growing area in Knox County, with a population growth rate averaging about 3.9 percent from 1990 to 2017. Construction of new homes in the area has increased significantly since 2012, with an average of 220 new dwellings annually from 2012 to 2017, and that number continues to rise over the last 3 years. In order for LCUB to continue to provide reliable and quality power, upgrades to the distribution system are essential.
Building the Hardin Valley 161-kV Station would resolve capacity issues at the Solway 161-kV Station by allowing load to be transferred from this station to the new Hardin Valley Station. Additionally, the new Hardin Valley Station would provide enhanced reliability due to a reduced amount of distribution line exposure.
TVA’s new line will begin at a point between TVA’s Watt Road-Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Fort Loudoun-Watt Road 161-kV double-circuit Transmission Lines and will end at the new Hardin Valley Station on Marietta Church Road in Knoxville.
A map is available at www.tva.com/transmissionprojects.
The transmission line would consist primarily of steel, single-pole structures centered on new 100-foot-wide right of way.
Approximately 40 parcels (37 property owners) would be affected by the project.
Construction is scheduled to begin in winter 2022-2023, and the line should be in service in summer 2023.
A virtual open house was held from October 22 through November 23, 2020, and accessed by 121 people. During this 30-day comment period, property owners and members of the public were able to submit questions and comments. Following the receipt of public input, the alternative route segments were evaluated.
TVA plans its transmission system according to industry-wide, accepted North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards.
In keeping with TVA’s environmental stewardship, appropriate National Environmental Policy Act review will be conducted.
Identifying a preferred route
TVA’s goal is to identify a solution that minimizes impacts to homeowners, property owners, existing environmental and historical features, and planned development, while meeting the needs of the power system and keeping the overall project cost within reason.
TVA evaluated each route using the same social, environmental and engineering considerations and public input.
Information sources include available data, aerial photography, limited onsite reviews, public review and comment, and property owner input.
TVA is committed to working with area stakeholders to address concerns during the course of the project.
Property owners who would be directly affected by the preferred transmission line route will be notified by letter.
TVA will follow-up with phone calls to answer questions and coordinate access for environmental and engineering surveys.
· Surveys of the right of way are scheduled to begin in winter 2021-2022.
· Easement purchases are scheduled to begin in summer 2022.
· Construction is scheduled to begin in winter 2022-2023.
· The line is scheduled to be in service in summer 2023.
TVA strives to be among the nations’ leaders in electric service reliability. Since 2000, the TVA system has delivered power to its customers with 99.999 percent reliability.
TVA has an obligation to ensure reliability of the power supply throughout its service area.
For additional project information, contact:
Todd Liskey, Siting Engineer
TVA Transmission Siting
1101 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402-2801
TVA cell: 423-290-7133
www.tva.com/transmissionprojects for maps and additional information