MYR Group subsidiary Harlan Electric Company (Harlan Electric) has successfully completed construction of the two new 230kV overhead transmission circuits that comprise a portion of PSE&G’s $435 million Southern Reinforcement Project (SRP) in southern New Jersey. The SRP provides required upgrades to the region’s power infrastructure, portions of which date back to the 1930’s. Along with these two new 230kV overhead transmission circuits, the project consists of three new 230kV underground circuits that will deliver improved electrical reliability and reduce transmission system congestion for businesses and homes throughout southern New Jersey.
The project included a 10-mile circuit from PSE&G’s Gloucester Switching Station in Gloucester City, to Atlantic City Electric’s Mickleton Substation near Mantua Creek in Gibbstown, and a two-mile circuit from PSE&G’s Camden Switching Station in Pennsauken to the Port Richmond Substation in Philadelphia.
The work crossed a combination of wetlands, residential communities, busy thoroughfares and a railroad bridge over the Delaware River, all of which posed unique difficulties for even the most experienced Harlan Electric crews.
“In addition to working in congested areas with heavy traffic and across railroad tracks, we also had to deal with highway crossings, hot crossings and other energized conductors,” said Safety Engineer Chris Huffstutter.
“Approximately three miles of the project required removing existing 100-foot steel H-frame structures that straddled an operating railroad and replacing them with 140-foot steel tubular H-frame and monopole structures. Every time a commuter or freight train would pass through, our crews had to stop work and move their equipment to maintain a safe distance from the tracks,” he added.
“It interrupted the rhythm of work because we kept having to stop and come down,” said General Foreman Jason Braidfoot.
Superintendent Charles “Redbird” Burton said the SRP was one of the toughest jobs he’s faced during his 30-year career in line work.
“This is a whole different world,” he said. “I come from a little town in Kansas. To come to a place with a million and a half people is a culture shock. We’ve had as many as five cranes running at once on structure change-outs just to keep up with the tight schedule.”
Crew members attributed a large portion of the project’s success to the skills and experience of the project’s management. “Management was very involved in our day-to-day operations, and fostered a great culture of inclusion and communication. These are seasoned industry professionals that know their stuff, can adapt to a variety of situations, and are well-respected. We all felt comfortable asking questions and speaking up, which led to our abilities to be proactive in addressing potential situations,” Huffstutter said.
Management was also proactive in requiring training for crew members, such as crane training and CPR classes and also made sure that direct lines of communication were in effect so issues could be responded to in a timely manner.
PSE&G’s helicopter crew delivered material to several hard-to-access structures and assisted in the reconductoring work atop the Delair Bridge which spans the Delaware River.
“Their people jumped in and gave us a hand, which was a great help” Burton said.
Excellent collaboration between PSE&G and Harlan Electric’s seasoned and experienced team of industry veterans and apprentices who were motivated and eager to learn, made this a very successful project.
“We’ve proven we can compete with any company,” Burton said. “We had the best equipment, the best tooling and a team of folks who brought invaluable experience to this project.”