Middletown-Norwalk project energized ahead of schedule

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Middletown-Norwalk Transmission Project was energized Dec. 19, 2008, more than a year ahead of schedule. Burns & McDonnell provided program management services for owners Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P), part of the Northeast Utilities System (NU).

Improving electrical reliability in one of the most power-constrained regions of the country, the project comprises 69 miles of new 345-kV transmission line — 24 miles of which is underground — 57 miles of reconstructed 115-kV line, and several new and rebuilt substations.

In 2005, Burns & McDonnell established an office in Wallingford, Conn., eventually staffing it with 80 full-time employees dedicated to the project. The program management solution implemented for the $1.4 billion project was a new technique in the transmission industry.

"The program management approach provided CL&P with flexibility and single-source accountability throughout the project," says program manager Brett Williams of Burns & McDonnell's Wallingford office. "It facilitated the aggressive schedule by allowing planning and permitting efforts to proceed parallel with design and construction."

Over the 2.5-year construction period, the project's safety record was more than 10 times lower than the Bureau of Labor Statistics' national average rate. More than 2.6 million work hours were logged.

"This extraordinary safety record was achieved through the pervasive safety culture developed on the site," Williams says. "Northeast Utilities should be commended for its ongoing commitment to safety. The Burns & McDonnell safety team was able to successfully train staff and keep subcontractors informed because of this client's support of our safety program."

Burns & McDonnell is also working on two other major projects for Northeast Utilities: the Glenbrook Cables Project and New England East-West Solutions.