One possible alternate route would now turn south halfway between Stuarts Draft and Lyndhurst, running down past Wintergreen Resort.
By Calvin Trice, News Leader
WINTERGREEN – Wintergreen Resort officials are withholding public judgment on the route being studied for a natural gas pipeline that would take construction near their attractions.
The recreation company has no comment this early in the planning stages for the alternative study corridor Dominion has mapped as part of its planned, 550-mile transmission line, said Betsy Dunkerton, Wintergreen spokeswoman.
The line would run from West Virginia to North Carolina, and Dominion recently made public an alternative route that would have it cross the Blue Ridge from Augusta County at a point very close to the resort property.
Construction for the line would require a 200-feet-wide clearance along the route through the George Washington National Forest and a 75-feet-wide clear-cut permanent easement above the buried line for maintenance. Dominion proposes to bore under the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway whichever location the company would choose, a company spokesman said.
The more northerly corridor proposed initially would have to separate underground bores with a trench through several thousand feet of private property. The alternate route, which would pass closer to Wintergreen, would intersect the trail eight miles to the southwest. It would require a horizontal drill beneath both the trail and parkway, which are closer together at that point, company spokesman Jim Norvelle wrote in an email.
Dominion said several natural gas pipelines, utility lines and other infrastructure already cross the trail, and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline intersections would minimize impacts on the trail and surrounding areas. Environmentalists and pipeline opponents fear the corridor will degrade scenic value and disrupt sensitive natural habitats.
The utility company will host an open house on the project at 5 p.m. Tuesday inside Nelson County High School.
On March 19, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that will review Dominion’s permit application to build the line, will hold a public meeting on the project beginning at 7 p.m. inside Stuarts Draft High School.