Kleinfelder was selected to provide geotechnical and construction inspection and testing support on an unprecedented power line safety enhancement program to replace transmission towers and foundations. The ongoing program is anticipated to replace 44,000 towers by 2029. As part of its mission to become the safest energy provider, PG&E is proactively improving its Electric Tower Programs to help maintain and upgrade the safety of the electric grid.
PG&E plans to replace up to 880 towers a year, with some of the projects ranging up to 28 miles in length. 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. Our employees take several PG&E training courses, wear specialized fire retardant gear, outfit themselves with ISNet bar code cards (indicating training), ensuring our subcontractors have the same training, hiring a fire safety watch for our projects, and meeting all local, county and state COVID 19 requirements. In doing so we now have an ISNet score of “A” with PG&E.
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 one example we reduced scoping by about a dozen borings and several days drilling, reducing field costs by about $200,000. 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 and our extensive database of pre-existing data to confirm ground conditions are as anticipated, and by 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. As a result of our success the client increased Kleinfelder’s work assignments by 28% from 2016 to 2019. Kleinfelder’s engineers and geologists have continued to support these projects through the construction phase.