Subsurface Utility Engineering = More Power
Though usually overhead, electric transmission projects significantly benefit with Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) data incorporated in the design. Whether installing a new transmission line, or rerouting an existing line, power transmission companies must make difficult decisions on where to place overhead tower structures.
Drill shafts for electric transmission towers could damage underground utilities if existing utility information is not known or is inaccurate. SUE, performed in accordance with the recommended practices and procedures described in ASCE publication CI/ASCE 38-02 “Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data,” is the most accurate method to help determine transmission line routing and structure locations.
It’s also not uncommon to expand existing transmission substations to keep up with increased demand of electric services. Design engineers can determine where future expansion is possible with the use of accurate SUE data. TRG recommends performing Quality Level (QL) “B” for substation expansion projects and design of new transmission tower locations. QL “D” utility record information can be utilized when working on preliminary routing for transmission lines, but should not be relied upon for design decisions.
Applying SUE on Electric Transmission Projects
TRG recently performed SUE for a substation project at the LCRA substation near Evant, Texas. QLB SUE services were performed surrounding the existing substation for a proposed expansion. During the field investigation, TRG crews had to perform due diligence to differentiate between the installed grounding grid and the existing underground utilities. Close coordination with LCRA staff was required for access to certain areas within the substation.
Electric transmission is just one sector where SUE information can help keep projects on budget and on schedule. Keep an eye on this blog for updates. This is the fourth installment in an 8-part series on SUE, in which we will touch on the importance of SUE in several different markets, including transportation, water & wastewater, campuses and facilities design, and more.
Our experts are happy to answer your questions or lead your team in a more in-depth “Lunch & Learn” on SUE. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org / 817-345-7500 or email@example.com/ 512-580-5440.