Transmission Upgrade Planned for Eastern Kentucky

Published On
Mar 19, 2021

As the landscape for electricity rapidly evolves, infrastructure is racing to keep up.

Officials in Kentucky are moving ahead with a plan to upgrade transmission lines in the state.

Kentucky Power, Ashland, Ky., provides electric service to about 165,000 customers in 20 counties in the eastern part of the state. The utility is advancing a plan to upgrade the transmission system in Floyd and Knott counties.

The Garrett Area Transmission Line Project will entail a number of upgrades. Approximately 15 miles of 138-kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line will be built. The utility will also construct a new substation, Eastern Substation, and will expand the existing Garrett Substation.

The Hays Branch, Saltlick and Soft Shell substations will also be upgraded.

These improvements will replace aging infrastructure that has experienced multiple power outages in recent years. Approximately 25 miles of transmission line and deteriorating wooden poles dating back to the 1920s and 1940s will be removed.

Kentucky Power president and chief operating officer, Brett Mattison, said the project will "strengthen the local power grid and ensure reliable service" for customers.

Final details of the route itself are still under consideration while the company evaluates several route options. The project will begin at the Hays Branch Substation in Floyd County and end at the Soft Shell Substation northeast of Route 1098. Along the way, it will pass through the proposed location for the Eastern Substation along Route 80, the Garrett Substation west of Route 680, the Saltlick Substation, and a substation near the Floyd/Knott county line that is operated by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Winchester, Ky.

Property owners within the proposed project area are invited to educate themselves about the project and submit comments at the virtual open house by April 19.

With approval, construction on the project is expected to begin in the summer of 2023 and conclude at the end of 2024.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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