AEP Leases Bethlehem Land for Staging Area

American Electric Power is leasing a large tract of property at the Bethlehem Towne Centre as a staging area for supplies to be used for the company’s $7.1 million transmission line upgrade project that will span six miles through Ohio and Marshall counties.

AEP spokeswoman Carmen Prati-Miller said AEP is currently working on a transmission line upgrade project that will stretch from the Brues substation, located next to W.Va. 2 near Benwood, to Sand Hill in Marshall County. She said AEP will be replacing 22 steel lattice towers as part of the project, and the steel poles located on the Towne Centre lot along 29th Street Hill are the poles and materials that will be used in AEP’s upgrade project.

“We are calling it a laydown area, and that’s exactly what it is,” she said. “It is the staging area for the materials that we need to upgrade the system in this area. We are upgrading lines and that will include these pole replacements.”

Prati-Miller said the new poles will replace the giant lattice towers that are currently in place between Benwood and Sand Hill.

“It’s a project that has been in the works for a while now. The anticipated project completion date is summer of 2015,” she said.

While these upgrades have a lot to do with the recent surge of the oil and gas industry in the area, Prati-Miller said they will also enhance the company’s reliability for their customers. She said 14 of the lattice towers being replaced were installed in 1929.

Randy Dlesk, representative for Dlesk Realty & Investments, said AEP has an 18-month lease agreement with Dlesk Realty & Investments for the use of the tract of property at the Bethlehem Towne Centre as a staging area.

He said one of the requirements for the temporary lease agreement was that AEP install a fence surrounding the property while they lease it. He said they have already fulfilled that requirement.