MYR Group subsidiary The L.E. Myers Co. (L.E. Myers) has successfully completed its portion of Central Maine Power Co.’s Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), the largest infrastructure project in Maine’s history.
Central Maine Power Company, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, will have invested $1.4 billion in the MPRP upon completion of the project, which will modernize the state’s 40-year-old bulk power system. The MPRP will also improve electrical reliability over the coming decades and provide the infrastructure for Maine’s emerging wind, hydro, biomass, and tidal energy industries.
L.E. Myers was awarded the largest portion of the MPRP project, the Northern Loop, which included the construction and rebuild of more than 2,000 structures and 210 miles of 345kV and 115kV transmission lines throughout northeastern Maine.
“The massive undertaking began in the fall of 2010 and required meticulous planning and extensive coordination,” said Project Manager Scott Tibbetts.
“The MPRP project was one of the most complex and challenging in L.E. Myers’ history,” Tibbetts said. “Working through some very harsh winters and treading carefully in Maine’s sensitive ecosystems, we had 18 jobs to complete, all of which required some concurrent work at any given time.”
The project presented extremely challenging environmental concerns, including a steep slope between a gas pipeline and remote stream channels, saturated wetland pockets and fragile wildlife habitats. L.E. Myers hired a full-time environmental coordinator to oversee compliance with more than 5,000 pages of environmental permits. Strict environmental monitoring was conducted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers and third-party inspectors, and numerous restrictions dictated what seasons and times work could be performed.
“Protecting water resources and minimizing land and wildlife impact were of primary concern, particularly the prevention of muddy or contaminated water from entering wetlands, streams, ponds and rivers,” Tibbetts said. “We took detailed control measures to safeguard these natural resources.”
An impressive demonstration of that teamwork took place during the summer of 2012, when L.E. Myers crews safely completed a wire pull that spanned 2,419 feet over the Penobscot River, a delicate and risky operation that involved a helicopter, two cranes and two pairs of 380’ tall lattice towers on opposite banks of the river.
In October, 2012, when Hurricane Sandy came roaring up the Eastern Seaboard, knocking out power to 150,000 homes and businesses in Maine and more than eight million other customers throughout the Northeast, crews had to stop work on the MPRP and begin the daunting task of restoration.
A year later, in October, 2013, the L.E. Myers team hit a remarkable milestone — one million man-hours on the MPRP without a single lost-time incident.
“Do it right, don’t take shortcuts, and look out for your brother – that’s what it’s all about,” said Northeast Regional Safety Manager Jim Foley. “It was accepted at all levels that if everybody worked safe, everything else would come together.”
“We exceeded our goals and thresholds for safety,” added Tibbetts. “Central Maine Power held us to very high expectations and we surpassed them.”
“Not only did the foremen set standards and encourage good work-safety habits, but each employee dedicated themselves to a safe work environment,” said MYR Group Sr. Vice President Bill Green. “The credit goes to every person who set foot on this project.”