The Transit Hub Utilities Project (THUP), which includes installing and relocating several utilities in preparation for the Seismic Safety and Modernization project, reached a major milestone last week by installing new 12 kV electrical lines and utility equipment. The SSM project will replace the Lab’s cafeteria and serve as a welcome center and conferencing space. The Projects & Infrastructure Modernization Division, over the course of a 10-day electrical power outage that affected three buildings on the Lab’s hill site, safely completed the work despite rainstorms and other site challenges. The power outage needed to be extended into a second week to ensure the work could be safely completed.

“The installation of new electrical equipment and cables necessitates meticulous planning, collaboration with contractors and across various Lab departments, rigorous equipment testing for a successful and safe execution, support from senior Lab management and the Department of Energy, and the patience of building occupants,” said Marc Restrepo, Project Manager with the Projects and Infrastructure Modernization Division. “Truly, it was a remarkable team effort.”

The project team faced a complex set of tasks that required them to follow a detailed plan prioritizing safety. Working with an older Lab infrastructure that is not up to current standards contributed to the physical challenge of completing an outage of this scope and complexity. Electricians worked in confined spaces in electrical arc flash suites and other personal protective equipment. In addition, the team had to weatherproof outdoor work areas to protect electrical systems from rainwater.

One major task was installing a solid dielectric switch to replace an aging gas switch. The new switch significantly reduces environmental hazards, specifically air pollution. It also provides greater protection to downstream maintenance workers and scientific equipment. Installing the switch allows for better control over the Lab’s future electrical systems and provides greater flexibility in switching, which will eliminate or reduce the number of buildings impacted by future outages.

The Facilities Division took advantage of the power shutoff to coordinate and complete 16 repair and maintenance projects that would normally have required additional utility disruptions.

“The THUP/SSM project, along with the PIM and Facilities divisions, want to thank the Lab community for their flexibility and understanding in working with us to schedule this outage. We understand the impacts this outage has on users,” said Lisa Ehlers, Project Director with the Projects and Infrastructure Modernization Division. “Completing the THUP project later this year will pay dividends by providing more reliable and safe electrical equipment with redundancies that will minimize future outages in this area.”

Stay up to date on THUP, and the Seismic Safety Modernization new facility on the SSM project page.