CES to complete near decade long power project

  • Published
  • By : Senior Airman William Johnson
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 436th Civil Engineer Squadron is putting on the finishing touches to complete a near decade long project to upgrade and relocate power lines from overhead power poles to an underground system.

The four-phase project started with initial plans and designs in 2007 and saw completed phases beginning in 2012 with Phase 1 and in 2013 with Phase 3. These two phases encompassed the power lines within the command section of the base and north of the main gate along Route 1.

Colleen Small, 436th CES project manager, said the remaining two phases, with associated demolition, should be completed by the end of September.

“The ongoing project is phases 2 and 4 of the four phase project,” said Small. “Through this process we have increased our capacity and increased our reliability while getting rid of utility poles that have degraded with time and would have needed to be replaced or removed.”

Phases 2 and 4 included installing 12,000 linear feet of primary ductbank, 88 new lighting poles and removing 84 worn wooden utility poles. It also saw a new tie line between substations.

“We’ve established good tie points between the various circuits on base,” said Small. “There are seven circuits that feed the base out of our two substations. We also added a new tie line between the north substation and the south substation, which increases our flexibility.”

Small said this added tie line is important because it allows one substation to be taken offline for maintenance without cutting power to other facilities or buildings.

“When it’s done right, it’s invisible to the building occupants,” said Small. “They wouldn’t even have any knowledge that anything had happened.”

Relocating the power system underground also comes with significant savings on maintenance cycles, manpower and money. Robert Jones, 436th CES construction representative, said these savings can be seem primarily with preventative maintenance.

“The main purpose of the maintenance on the overhead poles was for winter time, you have ice storms that come through, weighing down the lines,” said Jones. “You have what’s called a bell insulator, you have to do maintenance on them at least every two years. If you count every pole that’s on base and having to go up there on perform maintenance on them every two years, just think about the man power and equipment associated with that.”

The new underground system contains elbows that are housed in tan boxes located on the ground that only requires lubricating maintenance approximately once every five to seven years.

Bell said the new system helps to establish a more reliable solution to Dover AFB’s power needs.

“This new system is more permanent than the overhead poles,” said Bell. “It will go on and last way beyond our lifetimes.”