MYR Group Inc. subsidiary Sturgeon Electric Company, Inc. successfully completed construction of the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project for the Bonneville Power Administration.
The 38-mile, 500-kV line, connecting the new Central Ferry Substation in Garfield County, Washington to the existing Lower Monumental Substation in Walla Walla County along the Snake River, is designed to carry more than 800 MW of renewable wind energy to BPA customers in southwest Washington and Oregon State.
“Specifically this project will add critical transmission grid capacity, support new transmission requests from generators in the Snake River area and be a welcome boost to local and regional economies,” said Richard Shaheen, BPA Vice President of Engineering and Technical Services.
In May 2014, Sturgeon Electric mobilized crews to the region to begin building roads, excavating sites, and assembling and erecting nearly 160, 100-foot tall lattice towers. The steel structures support triple bundle conductor, overhead ground wire and fiber optic communication cable.
To complete the project, crews had to overcome many challenges that were unique to the region.
In addition to the steep, rugged terrain, the Central Washington weather proved challenging: high winds, dust storms, and blistering heat. Sturgeon Electric Supervisor Brady Moore said his 75-member construction crew rose to the challenge. “The temperatures were in excess of 100 degrees for weeks on end and nobody fell out or got tired. They all came to work with a positive attitude and got the job done.”
At one point during construction, line workers came across pyramid-shaped cairns (mounds of stones intended to serve as a memorial or landmark) on the ROW. After carefully marking off the area, local Indian representatives were brought in to confirm the trail markers were neither culturally nor historically significant.
The project was completed ahead of schedule and on budget. Sturgeon Electric Assistant Project Manager Christopher Way says that speaks volumes about the Sturgeon Electric crews. “There were some very strict quality control, environmental and cultural requirements on this project, and the crews handled the challenge extremely well. BPA received a transmission line of the highest quality without any environmental or cultural issues, and to top it off, we delivered well ahead of schedule and on budget,” Way said.
Sturgeon Electric District Manager Michael Lambert agreed. “Overall, we executed well on this project, from pre-planning to construction,“ Lambert said. “I think our performance builds upon our reputation for delivering a quality product in a safe, timely manner.”
“I was very impressed with the quality of workmanship and attention to detail, particularly among the local workers we hired in Washington. They took a great deal of pride in what they were doing and it showed,” added Sturgeon Electric Assistant Project Manager Holly Dodge.