After a year of construction, State Electric’s Utility-Power Division has completed its work at the Ipswich River Substation in Peabody, MA. While acting as the prime contractor for Peabody Municipal Light Plant, we replaced the existing single-bay 115kV/23kV substation with a new two-bay green field substation. State Electric’s project team, led by Project Manager Bobby Jones and Foremen Mark Delisle and Joe Scalese, did an exceptional job.
With any new substation, the first major steps involve getting it out of the ground, and Bond Brothers exceeded our expectations in doing so. Bond was awarded the civil subcontract and was tasked with clearing, grubbing, and grading the existing site. During that process they had to bring in countless loads of backfill (approx. 10,000 cy) to raise the site another 8’. As the site was brought up to grade, foundations, manholes, ductbanks, and ground grid were installed.
Once the site was brought up to final grade and the foundations were installed, State Electric was able to begin the bulk of our work. This entailed erecting steel structures, aluminum bus and taps, motor-operated disconnects, 115kV breakers, grounding, control and power wiring, and assembling the switchgear building. There were two operations that proved to be difficult – installing the two tap lines from the substation’s deadends to the transmission line and pulling the underground feeders. Installing the tap lines became a sizeable challenge because the environmental regulations would not allow us to use timber mats to cross the 250’ of wetlands between the substation and transmission line. Our solution was to hire a drone operator to fly a pull string from the substation to the transmission line, which allowed us to get the pull rope across, and eventually the conductors as well. Pulling the underground feeders also tested our crews. The six 750 kcmil triplex cables were pulled underground through the switchgear, multiple manholes, and up the riser conduits, proving to be very labor intensive.
Although the scope in the substation is now complete, State Electric’s Distribution Line Group is just getting started on their portion of the project. Project Managers Bobby Jones and Jeff Smith and Foreman Joe Scalese are spearheading this work that is also for Peabody Municipal Light Plant. The scope includes replacing the existing wood pole getaway structures with steel monopoles on helical pile foundations and replacing approximately six miles of pilot wire with ADSS overhead fiber. Our team is currently coming up with an innovative plan to overcome portions of work that cross over route 1/I-95 and route 128.