Pop Castle and the Rappahannock River

Underwater Power Line Approved

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) ruled on December 21, 2017, that the Dominion Energy application for power lines to cross the Rappahannock River should follow the underwater option.

The underwater power line option was strongly supported by the public and expert witnesses, whereas Dominion argued for installation of ten massive transmission towers across the scenic river. The SCC found that an underwater power line best balances the reliability, environmental, scenic, boating safety, and economic impact factors.

Press Release: Save the Rappahannock Coalition, December 21, 2017
SCC Order, SCC Press Release, December 21, 2017

Richmond Times Dispatch    •    Rappahannock Record

How to Donate

Save the Rappahannock Coalition
177 Dawson Lane
White Stone VA 22578

Make checks payable to "Save the Rappahannock Coalition".

The Save the Rappahannock Coalition, a 501c3 non-profit organization. It is an all-volunteer effort. The legal team that successfully argued before the SCC is being paid for with funds raised through the Coalition. You can help.

Not ratepayers, not taxes... we rely on you.

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Drone over the Norris Bridge courtesy of kinofly.com


Washington Post: The Old Dominion deserves better from Dominion Electric

October 28, 2016.   The Washington Post calls out Dominion Power on the opinion page for it's "wanton act of vandalism" in proposing towers across the James River near the Jamestown Island historic site. Read the entire piece here.

While Dominion continues to offer outdated, cookie-cutter solutions for electric transmission, Virginians are beginning to take notice. The proposed towers plan to cross the lower Rappahannock River at the Chesapeake Bay—a pristine shoreline untouched by industrialization—is prompting the same outrage by those who recognize that such disregard for U. S. natural assets will rob generations to come.

SCC Orders "Reasonable Alternatives"

July 22, 2016   The SCC Hearing Examiner today directed Dominion Virginia Power to conduct further studies on two additional methods to cross the Rappahannock River. (link to the SCC Ruling)

The first method in the ruling directs Dominion to study the cost, operational impacts and environmental impacts to install a set of insulated transmission lines on the Norris Bridge. The second feasibility study is for insulated transmission lines in a shallow trench across the river in conjunction with horizontally drilled pathways from the north and south banks traversing shallow depths.

Both alternatives have been used by Dominion at other sites, and will be included in their application as additional alternatives to the original three options. A revised Procedural Schedule before the SCC with known and estimated timelines can be found here.

Scenic Virginia Supports the Coalition

July 19, 2016    Scenic Virginia, Virginia’s statewide advocate for the preservation of scenic beauty, has adopted a position supporting the efforts of Save the Rappahannock.

Together with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Preservation Virginia (see below), these champions of protection for scenic, historic, and cultural resources support the Coalition’s position that the Rappahannock is not just beloved by those who live near its shores, but is a treasure of the Commonwealth.

"Most Endangered" Designation...

On May 3, 2016 Preservation Virginia announced its designation of the Lower Rappahannock/Norris Bridge Viewscape one of the Commonwealth’s Most Endangered Historic Places.

“Dominion’s proposal will be a desecration of one of the most beautiful river corridors in the Commonwealth,” declared Carl Smith, President of the Coalition. “We are grateful that Preservation Virginia has drawn attention to this ill-advised proposal.”     Read more...


•  Press Coverage

•  Letters to the Editor

•  Bridge Vocabulary:
"Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)"
"Channel Fenders"

Dominion Power has proposed to replace the existing power cables that run alongside (and out of view from) the Robert O. Norris Bridge* across the Rappahannock River between Lancaster and Middlesex. The new steel and concrete towers will loom high above the bridge, introducing navigation hazards and a jarring intrusion into our open water and scenic vistas.

A Summary "Fact Sheet"

The impact on our local economy will be felt in every sector. We are a tourism-based economy. Our vision for the future, solidly reflected in the county Comprehensive Plan, requires that all our natural resources be protected to maintain and expand our appeal to those to come to shop, buy, build, work, and retire. (Businesses supporting underground installation listed here.)

The Lancaster and Middlesex County Boards of Supervisors, along with town councils in Kilmarnock, Irvington and Urbanna, voted to oppose the project in favor of an underwater installation.

The Save the Rappahannock Coalition coordinated an appeal to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to stop Dominion from work on the towers. A local citizen, William Barnhardt, petitioned for a review of the project that would fully examine the economic impact on local communities.

The SCC ruled late in 2015 in favor of the public position that Dominion Power's plan for towers was not an ordinary extension or improvement. The SCC order required Dominion to submit to an application and seek approval before constructing any project. The order also enjoined Dominion from construction of it's towers plan until the review is completed.

    The review process

15 Bridges

If you travel north from Virginia to Maine you will cross 15 bridges with water crossings wider than one mile...

...not one has towers next to it.

These bridges are national treasures. Travel over them now and see for yourself...

dolphins at the bridge

Norris Bridge under construction* The Robert O. Norris Bridge is a truss bridge that spans the Rappahannock River between Lancaster County and Middlesex County in Virginia. It serves as the crossing for State Route 3 over the river. It was opened on August 30, 1957, and replaced the old ferry service. It is also known by locals as the White Stone Bridge or Rappahannock River Bridge.

The bridge is 9,985 feet long — over 6,000 feet of the span offer an elevated and unobstructed view of the mouth of the Rappannock River and the Chesapeake Bay. Originally conceived in the 1930s, planning work on the bridge began in earnest in 1950, and construction began in 1954. When first opened, the bridge was crossed by just over 1,000 vehicles per day, on average. Today, more than 11,000 vehicles cross the two lane bridge each day.

The Rappahannock River and Norris Bridge in regional art, history, and, identity

Music: Kung Fu Piano, Cello Ascends - The Piano Guys