AIKEN, SC. (WJBF)- Old Dibble Road has provided beautiful scenery to those living there for a long time.
But thanks to a proposal by the Central Electric Power Cooperative, that could soon change.
“It would wipe out this particular route on Old Dibble. It would wipe out 250 years of history, and it would be impossible to ever get that back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” said resident Simmie Moore.
The proposal is to add new transmission lines on the road, and the company has sent letters to several residents over the last two months–but according to residents they have not been informed well enough.
And with more questions than answers, it’s making people like Moore frustrated.
“There’s such a lack of transparency,” said Moore. “Where is the study? Where is the budget? They saying they’re going to be floating a bond: what are the details of this bond? How much interest are they gonna pay? What are the terms of the bond?
In addition to the lack of clarity, Moore says neighbors do not want to see this happen because they want to protect their homes, their land, and their beloved road.
According to Moore, there are multiple online petitions against the project, with signatures from hundreds of residents in the area that would be impacted by the corridor.
Others like Robert Winston say this project would not only destroy the aesthetics of the road, but the value of their properties.
“Realtors have told us that if they put these power towers in, we would lose between 10 and 40 percent of our properties and homes. More than one realtor has told us that, and that’s pretty serious,” said Winston.
We reached out to Central Power Electric Cooperative, and Director of Engineering Services Chris Ware says they have planned to put in the new lines due needed liability and electric load growth in the area.
Ware also says this has been in the works since 2019, but plans are beginning to move forward now.
But with this having an impact on thousands of others close by, Moore says there’s a better way to go.
“The best-case scenario for us and for everyone would be for them to go along Highway 278. The Savannah River Site owns that land–it’s federally owned land–and it’s 72,000 acres. The land has already been studied, and has already been permitted for use, and they can use that,” said Moore.
There will be a meeting tomorrow night at The Etherredge Center on the campus of USC-Aiken at 5:30 PM.
A rep from CEPC is expected to be there, along with Aiken Senator Tom Young, and State House Representative Bill Taylor to hear the people’s concerns.
According to Ware, if the process moves forward, they could make final route selections by the end of 2023.
If that were to occur, construction could begin by 2025, and the transmission lines could be completed by 2026.