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Burns & McDonnell Successfully Energizes Boone to Ward Hollow Transmission Line in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV — Burns & McDonnell in partnership with American Electric Power (AEP) successfully completed a four-year-long project to retire and rebuild an area transmission system, improving reliability between Boone and Kanawha counties in West Virginia.

The Boone to Ward Hollow Transmission Line engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project launched in December 2017, and the final major asset was energized in December 2021.

To successfully complete the complex project, Burns & McDonnell and AEP crews had to retire the existing 34.5-kV distribution line and rebuild the system to 69-kV and 138-kV for a distance of approximately 36 miles. Also, a new 138-kV Fields Creek station was built, the existing Boone station was expanded, and minor station upgrades were needed at 11 remote end stations. To maintain reliable service to residents and businesses, the project was constructed within a very tightly controlled schedule — including a complex sequencing plan for over 70 outages.

“The Boone to Ward Hollow EPC project was one of the most complex projects completed by our skilled transmission and distribution professionals,“ said Brandon Graves, Burns & McDonnell Project Manager. “Our EPC delivery approach allowed our team to focus on the details and work seamlessly with our AEP partners from project launch to completion.”

Burns & McDonnell has completed a broad range of transmission and distribution projects across the country, but this project had multiple challenges, most notably due to its location in the Appalachian Mountains. The steep, rugged mountainous terrain created safety hazards for crews tasked with inspecting the work, so drones were used.

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“Ingenuity, a solid communication plan, and a focus on safety were paramount to getting this job done without a single lost day on the job,” said Michael Wagner, Burns & McDonnell Construction Project Manager. “This was a complicated project with many moving parts on an aggressive and outage-constrained schedule, but the partnership and continued diligence of the collective project team provided a successful execution.”

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