Unitil Kingston Substation Expansion, Chapter 2 – Civil Work

Unitil Kingston Substation Expansion, Chapter  2 – Civil Work


So, we have a pretty good idea about how
this substation construction project will be put together and Jake gave us a
good indication about the intricacies involved in the process. And like any new
build it always starts from the ground up with what Unitil calls, “civil work”.
That’s what we’ll be looking at first. Before actual work begins, I’m meeting
Sara Sankowich to walk us through the tree clearing that is just about to start. Alright. Hey Sara, how are you? Good. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. What we got going here? We are doing some land clearing. I gotta wear this. I got that for you. All right. Take me along. Show me whats what’s happening. This is a first stage
of clearing the land for our new substation that’s going in here. Okay. And,
so, the very first thing when you get here is to do what? To cut the trees and
then put them in a pile? What’s the process? Oh, first we had a survey done so we knew the limit of our land and figured out
where the substation is going to go and what trees actually have to be cleared.
So, what the crews are doing here is they’re actually cutting down the area.
Clearing the land. Pile the trees here. Some of them will be used for lumber and
then we’ll have the rest of them all chipped up with the chipper there and
those will actually be used for a biomass when you burn them. All right. I
can take some home with me for some projects. This is a nice pine here.
What about these machines? Tell me about these different machines that you’re
working with. Well, we have a feller buncher that does the actual cutting. And
then once the logs are cut you have a forwarder. And, what does that do?
That just carries the bundles out? Yeah. Carry stuff that’s been cut, loads it all
up, puts it out here ready to be moved off-site or chipped up. So, we’re just
basically clearing the land so that we can have the substation built here. So,
all of these lines will be moved over this way to accommodate the bigger
substation. Right, right. So, think about it. When you get up in the morning you turn on the TV, make some coffee, use the microwave. These are all things we take
for granted but how does that happen? Well it’s from the very hard work of the
public utility company and electrical line workers but very dangerous job. How
do they do it safely? Well, they all have a very deep understanding of all the
proper safety rules and proper electrical protective equipment.
Hey Nikki, Jake gave us an overview of the substation plans for Kingston which
is very complex and it looks like there are a lot of safety hazards we have to
think about. There are a lot of hazards and we have a lot of contractors and
employees working out there. So, we want to make sure that they’re all trained
and have the proper equipment before they get out on-site. And that’s what I
want to get to next. I see some equipment over here. What are the first things you need
to do if we’re going to go out on the site? So, the first thing we need is a
hardhat. Mhm. Protects your head from any overhead
falling objects. Okay. Second, thing safety glasses. A couple things
these are shatter resistant they also have side shields that protect your eyes
if anything were to come in from the side. So, you need to have these on at all
times on this site. Okay. We want to make sure that you’re seen. People that are
on site, passerby’s, people that are driving by. It’s high visibility
reflective material on here. So, I’ll give that to you. And finally, I think I see the
world-famous steel toed shoes, right? Yes. Yes. That’s the other piece of PPE that
everybody needs to have. So, these are also required. All right. So, thank you. All right, bye. Next up, we’ll watch as the crew starts
the foundation. Well back with an aid again. Hey Nate, how are you? Hey Brian, good to
see ya. This looks like, it to me, rhis is like, this likes a myriad of wire. Did
these poles… there’s no foundation? They just drill these right into the
ground? Correct. Yeah, the digger is basically a big drill
and it drills into the earth. Right. And these poles are set, you know, anywhere
from six to eight feet in the ground. So, one of the first things I notice is
we’re down low or even probably four feet below grade. Right. Why are we down
here? Right. In the site design there’s some elevations that are specified and
another aspect of it is they need to get down to two earth that’s stable enough
to support foundations. Is that your design? Your area? Ah, no. We
hired Tiff Moran and Nick Golan was the engineer for this project to From Tiff Golan to help us out. Nick, good to see you. Oh, yeah. So, we’re at the very early stages of
this project and this is problem I think the most important because it’s it’s the
footing, it’s below, it’s everything that’s happening, support the new substation. What is your role in the overall site, in the
project? Well, the best way I can explain it is really, our work starts as a site
civil engineer where Nate’s work leaves off relative to the substation. Pretty
much that substation fence. Everything inside the fence it’s Nate’s domain. We
really take care of everything outside of it. It is it’s a very
important process as far as how we work with the site grates to transition out towards the limits of the property. Now, there’s a couple of things
that we need to do. First, we work hand-in-hand basically with Nate to
establish what that elevation of the yard needs to be . Right. That’s important because you
need to make sure your storm water can drain off the site to a natural point
and you also need to make sure that that elevation is set so that we can tie out
our grades at the limit of the property. So, Nick we’re going down into some sort of
a trench or a depression of some sort here between the work site and the
landscape. That’s right. This is our bio-retention area and you hit the nail on
the head it is a shallow depression with the purpose of storing our storm water
after it comes off of the substation. So, it comes off the substation, comes in here,
and does this have a special soil? It is. Now, what this is this, ah. This is an engineered soil. We’ve determined essentially what it’s infiltrative capacity is. How quickly can
the storm water go through the soil? Right. What’s made up of this it’s it’s pretty
simple, you know, we’re trying to basically reinvent what mother nature
did. Or duplicate it I should say. We’ve got sand, we’ve got some compost, and we’ve
got some loam. So, they serve a different purpose? Very true and the aggregate, the
total mixture serves to filter storm water as it leaves the site. Maybe
we should hop back in and see… Yeah. Let’s go take a look. They’re working on foundations now. I appreciate it. Good to meet you. Good to see you Nick. Alright, okay. So, we’re kind
of down here at this sub grade level and I see a lot of forms and concrete. What’s
going on at this level? So, what they’re doing right now is they’re making all
the foundations. So, the first step is they use rebar which is a steel rebar
that looks like this or it comes in different sizes and shapes. And they do
that to make a kind of a rebar cage we call it and they make that for the
footings as well as these which we call the piers. Where do they put it? Do they put it in on site? It doesn’t come pre-assembled? They pour the coats… It’s all assembled on site. They have drawings that tell them, here’s
how much rebar, the size of it. Right. The spacing. So, they’ve, they lay it
all out. They tie it together and then what they do is they use these forms to
build around the rebar to make this foundation the size that the drawings
say they have to be. All right. And then the concrete comes and they pour, they pour, the concrete in. Okay and then I see we’ve got some bolts.
Yeah, so… What a big hefty bolts. Yeah, so, what this is for is is these are built
up there’s rebar in it and then they put these anchor bolts in. And these are all
spaced differently for each foundation and they’re spaced to match the steel
structures that we’re going to be putting on them to… Virtually like that… So, all
of that is gonna sit on top of this foundation. Some of these over here are
just, we call them pads, so the big one over there is gonna support the power
transformer. That’s a big one. So, I think the power transformer weighs 240,000 pounds.
So, all that is gonna sit on that piece of cement right there. Got to be pretty
hefty. So, the next step will be they’re gonna lie the conduits on the ground.
They’re gonna start filling and put some work on – it’s a little higher up and
then they’re gonna put in the ground grid. Also, the cable trench will go in
around that level and then then final grade of the substation will be filled
up to here. So, that’ll be right across. You’ll see over there, the big
transformer pad, that’s where the transformer is going to sit. So, all that
you’ll see about a foot on the tops of each foundation and that’s it. So, there’s
some more work to be done before the actual back-fill comes in. Yeah, and I
think we’re gonna have to definitely come back and check that out that we can.
Yeah. Before that happens. Probably a few weeks. Heading out for now. Appreciate it, man. Good to see you. Thanks. Take care. Once the concrete sets, Unitil will be ready for laying down conduit and installing the ground grid. Since watching concrete dry is no fun we’ll
check back in with them in the next chapter.

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