Jefferson-Martin 230 Kilovolt Transmission Line Project


Courtesy of Black & Veatch Corporation

One of the largest underground transmission projects in the U.S. had a goal of protecting environmental resources while meeting the San Francisco Bay Area's growing demand for reliable electrical power.

One of the largest underground transmission projects in the United States has a goal embraced by all working on the Pacific Gas & Electric Company's (PG&E) Jefferson-Martin 230 Kilovolt Transmission Line Project - to safely complete the project on schedule, within budget, while minimizing the impact to the environment and communities along the route.

PG&E called on the expertise of Black & Veatch to engineer, procure and construct 24 miles of underground and 3.5 miles of overhead transmission line. Black & Veatch assembled a team of experts in engineering, construction management, construction, environmental management and public relations to tackle the project's inherent rigorous requirements.

The new transmission line winds through the San Francisco Peninsula county of San Mateo. The county is comprised of diverse communities, custom and tract homes, significant archeological and cultural resources, sensitive environments, various microclimates and numerous federally protected plant and animal species.

The transmission line is installed in concrete-encased duct bank buried beneath streets in front of schools, homes, business districts, major mass transit hubs, parks and endangered species habitats. Construction of the new overhead transmission line penetrates the San Francisco watershed and is within feet of some of the Bay Area's drinking water reservoirs.

The project has set a standard of operations to ensure it has zero impact to special status species or cultural resources and zero protests by community or environmental groups. Much of the project terrain is home to several federal and state endangered species. Working in such a sensitive environment, the project team set a compelling standard of leadership in environmental stewardship. The project is utilizing 30 biologists and environmental specialists to prevent sensitive wildlife from entering the construction zone or halt construction in the event they enter the area. Two cultural resource specialists are on the project to investigate all possible cultural and paleontological discoveries.

To proactively address the questions and concerns of elected officials and community leaders, the project team initiated meetings with first-responder government officials and held several community informational meetings. All along the route, the project team worked with local communities to minimize construction impact. Despite working through streets which are the commercial lifeblood of their respective cities, there has been no protest or any other type of activity to stop construction.

The project is a shining example of teamwork, open communication and proactive stewardship. Furthermore, it enhances Black & Veatch's reputation for business excellence and supports the principle of Building a World of Difference by respecting the environment and communities, while meeting the San Francisco Peninsula communities' growing demand for reliable electrical power.

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