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October 25, 2022 L.E. Myers Wins 2022 NECA Project Excellence Award For Overhead Transmission Work In Decatur, Illinois District

District recognized for exceptional communication, coordination to complete the Gateway to Roxford high-voltage transmission line 

For the second time in four years, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) recognized the hard work and creative thinking of the L.E. Myers Co.’s (L.E. Myers) Decatur, Ill. district, awarding it the 2022 NECA Project Excellence Award in the overhead transmission category.

L.E. Myers served as both the general contractor and electrical contractor for the Gateway to Roxford 345 kv transmission line, a 13.52-mile stretch from substation to substation – approximately 7 miles of which is located on Chouteau Island on the Mississippi River outside of St. Louis.  

Since the island was primarily accessible via weight-limited bridges, the Decatur district needed to create out-of-the-box solutions to ensure the project was completed safely, to the client’s expectations and met USACE and FAA requirements. This problem-solving approach was recognized by NECA, the premier organization for electrical contractors in the United States. 

“This was an extremely complex project that required extensive planning, coordination, and communication,” Decatur District Manager Scott Tibbetts said. “The L.E. Myers project team, along with all the stakeholders, did an outstanding job working together to make this project a success.” 

L.E. Myers and the Decatur district will be formally presented with its 2022 project excellence award on Monday Oct. 17. during the organization’s annual convention in Austin. 

About the Project 

Proactive communication and unparalleled coordination were essential to successfully completing the Gateway to Roxford 345 kv transmission line project, an endeavor that presented a variety of unique challenges. 

Originally installed in 1968, the existing steel lattice towers needed replacing along the 13.52-mile stretch of transmission line, going from the new Gateway substation to the existing Roxford substation, which was also rebuilt as a double circuit 345kv transmission line. 

The project included the removal of all existing COR-TEN lattice towers and driven pile foundations, as well as the existing conductor. Old materials were replaced by 59 self-supporting lattice towers, ranging from 93-235 feet, and the installation of a double-circuit, double-bundled 795 kcmil ACSS conductor. The project also required the installation of two overhead optical ground wire (OPGW) shield wires and permanent lighting, as mandated by the FAA.  

“There was a turning point near the beginning of this project – notably altering the planned critical path – where our team became aware that effective scope management, in all its nuances, meant prioritizing effective communication and strategic problem-solving, which without either would severely diminish the stand-alone effectiveness of construction processes and project management methodologies,” Senior Project Manager Dustin Walker said “Scope management required choosing the right problem to solve day-to-day and communicating it effectively to internal and external project teams.” 

With more than half the line’s stretch located on Chouteau Island in the Mississippi River, much of the project included two river crossings and was primarily accessible via weight-limited bridges. A majority of the towers were located within the 100-year floodplain of the Mississippi River, so the new lattice towers were constructed on platforms to match the 100-year floodplain for resiliency to the flood prone right-of-way. 

Due to the limited access to much of the project scope on Chouteau Island, new towers were constructed in pieces off-site and flown in by sky crane. Existing towers were removed in pieces and delivered off the island in weight-compliant truckloads or across barges.  

“While creativity is often regarded as a characteristic that one either does or does not have, it is an achievable leadership skill often built on a desire to understand – to see a problem from different perspectives – and to overcome an impasse,” Walker said. “Empowering one another to foster and embrace a culture of openness, liveliness, and autonomy was one effective way our team supported the creative thinking necessary to solve problems and advance the project. Similarly, focusing on small wins and handing out credit where due was equally important to overcoming impasses and maintaining creative empowerment.” 

The project began in May of 2020 and the transmission line was energized on-time in November 2021, providing much-need power reliability to the communities in the area. 

To view all the 2022 winners, visit the NECA Project Excellence Awards website