Surveying is expected to begin this fall on a proposed TVA transmission line to a substation at House, officials told more than 120 people Thursday during a public meeting.

Public comments are being taken through April 8.

The Tennessee Valley Authority hopes to start purchasing easements in the fall of 2014, while construction is expected to begin the following year.

TVA officials estimate that the line would be in service by winter 2018.

The new line is needed to improve power reliability in the area, officials said.

TVA is proposing to build about 12 miles of 161-kilovolt transmission line from a line supplied by its existing Philadelphia Substation to a Central Electric Power Association's substation southwest of House.

Several routes are being considered. The line would be built on steel pole structures on new 100-foot right of way.

Kimberly Choate, TVA's manager of transmission siting and energy delivery, said there was a steady crowd during the four-hour open house with numerous questions fielded from landowners.

Choate said the House substation is currently under powered.

After the upgrades, it will go from 146 kilovolts of power to 161 kilovolts, she said.

"That will provide better power coverage for the area," she said.

The purpose of the open house was to get as much input as possible from homeowners before a final decision on the route is made, she said.

Also being considered are social, environmental and engineering information.

"All options are open right now," Choate said, "and the public input is part of the analysis."

TVA will take public comments until April 28.

"It's a long process," Choate said.

Maps were set up in the coliseum during Thursday's open house so attendees could better see where their property was located in comparison to the proposed routes and how, if at all, they might be affected.

Many property owners voiced support for the project.

Jerry Brantley said it was great that they planned to upgrade the county system and he didn't see it as an inconvenience.

"It might be for someone else but I'm good with it," he said.

TVA sent out letters to any resident whose property was touched by the proposed line.

Choate said TVA wanted to avoid inconveniencing property owners, noting that they would be compensated if the route went through their property.

"We want to avoid homes if at all possible," she said.

Joey Thrash said that he first found out about the project when he received the letter in the mail.

"The route will not impact us so I'm not really opposed to it on my end," he said.

Not everyone who attended received a letter. Many were there to see how close they were to the lines and if they might, in any way, be affected.

Patti Duncan Lee said, after observing the map, that the line didn't appear close enough to her property to affect it in any way.

"However, I don't really know enough about the project to be 100 percent sure," she said.

Bringing in property owners and answering their questions to dispel any fears is exactly what TVA was trying to do with the open house, Choate said.

"We've gotten no pushback yet," she said. "We've gotten some calls and a few emails with questions but nothing unusual. One property owner said the route would make a good deer corridor."

For more information on this and other projects check out the TVA website at www.tva.com/power/projects.

To submit comments, contact TVA's Allen Miller toll free at 800-362-4355, by email at newtransline@ tva.com or by mail to: W. Allen Miller, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market St., MR 4G, Chattanooga, TN, 37402-2801.