Power project to disrupt Colington intersection

By on March 6, 2011

One of the busiest intersections on the Outer Banks is likely to see more congestion this week as crews working for Dominion Power run new lines along U.S. 158.

The work at Colington Road and the bypass is part of a larger project that is expected to continue for the better part of this year.

Motorists should expect delays through March 15, according to Kill Devil Hills Assistant Police Chief Dana Harris.

The work will require closing the right northbound lane on U.S. 158 on either side of the intersection. The left-turn-only lane on the extreme north side of Colington Road will also be closed. The second lane allowing left turning and through traffic will still be open.

Harris said in a memo that motorists on Colington Road planning to head south on U.S. 158 should consider taking Veteran’s Drive to Baum Street. Colington Road drivers who want to head north on U.S. 158 should consider the option of continuing straight and making a left on N.C. 12 since there will be only one left-turn lane available at the bypass.

The intersection sees heavy traffic from the three First Flight Schools early mornings and mid-afternoons. Colington Road also carries traffic from the large community of Colington Harbour.

Crews working in Nags Head. (Voice photo)

Dominion North Carolina Power finished the year-long first phase of the project last year. Transmission towers rising 75-feet high and anchored 25 feet into the ground went up along U.S. 158 and lines were stretched from Kitty Hawk Road to the Old Dowdy’s Amusement Park — about six miles, according to Bonita Harris, media relations manager for Dominion.

The three lines on the top of the towers are transmission lines that carry electricity down the Outer Banks. The distribution lines and wooden poles going up now will carry power to homes and businesses.

Dominion’s Harris said about 250 wooden poles will be used for the distribution lines. Once those are functional, the old lines and poles will be taken down.

The project is aimed at increasing capacity and reliability for 37,000 to 38,000 customers, Harris said.

Kill Devil Hills challenged the plan to put the big towers along the bypass, but the lawsuit was settled in Dominion’s favor in 2003. Dominion argued that running the lines on the existing right-of-way on the soundside would have effected 159 properties to varying degrees.

Dominion says that running the power lines underground would have been too expensive. Areas where distribution lines are underground now were part of agreements with developers.

The new lines are being installed to supplement power already supplied by those along the sound. The soundside lines will still be functional.

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