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Client

EPCOR Distribution & Transmission

Overview

Our team performed the design build of a new fibre optic connection between EPCOR's North Service Center and Castle Downs Substation.

Challenges

When EPCOR Transmission needed to establish a communication link between its North Service Center and the Castle Downs Substation, they knew the project would be challenging. With a distance of approximately 7 kilometres, the project required the design and installation of a 96 strand single modefibre optic cable line that would need to be pulled through the existing ducts via EPCOR's existing manhole system. Doing so meant routing the cable through a complex network of buried utilities, in the midst of Edmonton's most frigid weather conditions.

The possibility existed to use EPCOR's existing duct and manhole system to streamline the route and reduce cost, but no recent investigation of duct space availability in the area had been completed. It appeared necessary that the eventual design team would have to work closely with an experienced construction team if such assets were to be utilized and the project completed safely and quickly.

Solutions

EPCOR Technologies was engaged to approach the project in a design-build fashion, ensuring close collaboration between an engineering and field service team. An investigation of the existing duct space and manhole condition was conducted, and a route was selected that would optimize the construction cost savings for the project. Our engineering team was put to the test securing crossing and proximity agreements with six different companies with affected high pressure pipelines, a City of Edmonton Utility Line Assignment and two rail crossing agreements.

With approvals in place, the EPCOR Technologies team went to work clearing out manholes in preparation of the fibre installation. Due to the age of the existing infrastructure and winter weather conditions, water, ice, contaminants and debris were pumped out using a combination of hydrovacs and steamer trucks. Materials taken out of the manholes were safely disposed of at environmentally approved facilities. In addition, a blockage in the underground duct-bank, which threatened to put the project on hold, was safely cleared using a subcontractor. Effective planning and collaboration was required with the client to ensure access and monitor activities required in close proximity to high voltage lines.

The integrated nature of EPCOR Technologies' engineering and construction team allowed for modifications to routing to be made quickly, keeping delays from escalating. The success of this approach has contributed to the continued use of Technologies' design-build services to date on fibre optic expansion projects.