Q. What can those coming to the Lab’s hill site expect in terms of construction and infrastructure work in 2023?
The short answer is that there’s a lot of great work happening in 2023.
We [the Projects & Infrastructure Modernization (PIM) Division] are at different stages for several infrastructure projects which will help modernize the Lab and ensure it remains a home to cutting edge science. Some of the projects are big and visible, like BioEPIC or the demolition of building 54 to make way for the Seismic Safety and Modernization (SSM) project. Some of our projects are just as impactful but less immediately visible, like the expansion of the Grizzly Peak substation.
In addition to our own work, PIM is monitoring the progress of the UC Berkeley-led Centennial Bridge replacement project, which will impact Lawrence Road traffic throughout 2023.
All of this construction work equals disruptions like lane closures, planned utility outages, noise, and vibrations. PIM’s constant challenge is to find ways to reinvent the Lab’s physical space while we all occupy it. That takes teamwork and communication. We’re committed to working with the Lab community, with our Operations partners, and with researchers to mitigate construction challenges where possible, and to keep the community well-informed at all times.
Q. What are some of your most anticipated projects in 2023? What excites you?
While physical construction won’t start until probably 2026, one of the projects I am excited about is the Linear Asset Modernization Project, or LAMP. It’s no secret that the Lab’s utility infrastructure is in need of upgrades. LAMP will upgrade electricity, water, natural gas, compressed air, sewer, storm drain, process controls, and IT utilities. It is a massive multi-year project and will help provide the kind of utility infrastructure needed for science facilities that haven’t even been dreamed up yet.
Frankly, all of our projects excite me. I was drawn to the Lab by the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to an organization whose scientific discoveries are making big impacts on some of the world’s most challenging problems. Our division builds the future of Berkeley Lab and we are incredibly proud of that.
Q. What are some of the ways that PIM is addressing or will address the challenges that come from large-scale construction projects?
I mentioned it at the beginning, but want to say again that PIM is committed to communicating our work and impacts, both at the project level with key stakeholders and also with the Lab community.
Some examples of this include:
- Hosting Lab-wide town halls, like the town hall announcing the SSM project in November
- Working closely with researchers and building tenants to identify potential impacts, and conducting exploratory work such as vibration tests
- Providing regular updates through email, construction project pages, and Elements articles
The best way that we can effectively support the Lab’s science mission and complete our work is by partnering with the research community.