PG&E has embarked on an unprecedented power line safety enhancement program, including replacing 44,000 towers by 2029, to help maintain and upgrade the safety of the electric grid. Kleinfelder was selected to provide geotechnical and construction inspection and testing for the tower and foundation replacements.
Approximately 44,000 towers will be replaced, with some of the projects running 28 miles in length. PG&E plans to replace up to 880 towers a year. This has required our professionals and safety leaders to develop and meet unprecedented safety requirements and assemble field teams capable of traveling and working in remote locations crossing many properties and county lines.
Having worked in Northern California for 60 years, Kleinfelder has a significant amount of local knowledge. When possible, we used pre-existing geotechnical data and knowledge to reduce the number of borings and tests. This reduced time and costs for PG&E and accelerated their project schedules. In addition, to facilitate efficient and cost-effective decisions, we have proactively reviewed PG&E’s standard designs to ensure they meet required program needs.
By using geophysics, our extensive database of pre-existing data, and considering changes in geologic formations instead of focusing only on towers over a set distance, we have been able to reduce the amount of field data acquisition. In one example, we reduced scoping by about a dozen borings and several days drilling, which reduced field costs by about $200,000. As a result of our success the client increased Kleinfelder’s work assignments by 28% from 2016 to 2019.