Grant County PUD is set to undergo a comprehensive electric-system upgrade project across 10 different sites, costing approximately $75 million. The aim of these upgrades is to minimize outage durations and enhance the electric supply for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes. Collectively known as “Design Build 2,” these projects encompass the construction of five new substations, upgrades to existing substations, and the establishment of a new 10-mile, 115 kV Red Rock transmission line that will bolster the electric supply to Royal City.
Progress has been substantial, with six out of the 10 projects surpassing the 60% completion mark. Four projects have already been energized and are serving customers in the Quincy, George, and Royal City areas. Construction work on the Red Rock Substation commenced on May 4, while property easements for the Red Rock Transmission Line have been acquired, and the design process is 90% finished.
Planning for Design Build 2 initiated in 2018, with initial cost estimates ranging from $42.6 million to $62.6 million. However, factors such as pandemic-related delays, shortages in the supply chain, inflationary cost escalations, and changes in the project scope have resulted in a revised cost of $75.3 million. Additionally, there is a proposed scoping change order that would further raise the total cost to $104 million.
The name “Design Build” for this group of projects stems from the state-approved alternative project-delivery method adopted by Grant PUD. This method involves a prime contractor responsible for both the design and construction phases, allowing for greater efficiency and enabling multiple projects to be executed simultaneously. Grant PUD was the first public utility in the state to employ the Design Build process, having successfully completed a previous round of projects from 2016 to October 2017. These earlier projects entailed the construction of two new substations in Quincy and upgrades to six existing substations.