Construction crews have begun to raise steel poles for a new FirstEnergy transmission line in Harrison and Doddridge counties, West Virginia.

The project will support the electric demands of the area’s established Marcellus Shale gas industry, and help enhance service reliability for nearly 13,000 Mon Power customers around the Clarksburg and Salem areas.

Over the next month, cranes will hoist about 80 steel structures onto recently completed concrete foundations along the 18-mile corridor linking a transmission substation in Clarksburg with one near Sherwood. Crews also will be attaching wire conductor to the poles throughout May.

The new 138-kilovolt (kV) line project is expected to be energized and in service by mid-summer, with about $43 million of the $92 million project to be spent in 2016. The line route parallels an existing FirstEnergy transmission line for about 11 miles north of U.S. Route 50.

"FirstEnergy continues to support West Virginia’s important shale gas industry with infrastructure enhancements such as this new transmission line," said Holly Kauffman, FirstEnergy’s president of West Virginia Operations. "Natural gas plants and compressor stations are energy intensive operations. It is our job to both keep pace with industry demands and to ensure our longtime customers in the region continue to receive safe and reliable electric service."

A substation near Clarksburg has been expanded, with new circuit breakers added to accommodate the new 138-kV line. The substation near Sherwood, energized in 2014 at a cost of about $56 million, was primarily constructed to support the growing electrical needs of a gas facility nearby, while also benefitting more than 6,000 Mon Power customers along the U.S. Route 50 corridor in Doddridge, Harrison and Ritchie counties with enhanced service reliability.