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June 18, 2024 The L.E. Myers Co. Races to Restore 765kV Power Line in Midwest After Major Storm

Completes work within weeks after tornado wreaks havoc on “backbone” transmission line

In the wake of a tornado, Midwesterners awoke to find a 765kV transmission line reduced to a tangled heap by the storm. The L.E. Myers Company (L.E. Myers) immediately responded to the local utility’s Friday evening request for storm restoration help. L.E. Myers Superintendent Scott Ross arrived on site the same night to assess the damage and arranged for equipment to begin arriving the following morning.

“When I saw it, it was a twisted-up tower lying on the ground,” Ross recalled.

The 765kV transmission line and lattice tower felled by a tornado.

Addressing challenging 765kV infrastructure demands expertise beyond the ordinary. Reacting with speed and precision, L.E. Myers crews worked closely with the utility to tackle the emergency head-on to fix the critical lines and restore power. The work ahead would entail removing and replacing the damaged 765kV lattice tower, repairing multiple spans of wire damaged by wind debris, and installing a new conductor to replace severely damaged sections.

Together, the teams embarked on the restoration and re-energization of the line, safely accomplishing the feat in under four weeks.

“We were with the restoration team developing the plan and what’s required,” said David Boddy, manager of L.E. Myers’ Indianapolis district, “We figured out the existing state while driving the line with the transmission construction representative for [the utility], helping them determine what was really going on and actions needed to restore the line.”

Essential to their success was establishing effective lines of communication with all stakeholders, from environmental regulators to landowners, while project managing the restoration. L.E. Myers worked closely with the utility team in coordination, obtaining alignment across all parties and ensuring successful project delivery.

“One of the critical items that made this unique restoration project a success was the utility’s inclusion of L.E. Myers as one of them,” Boddy said. “The trust, open communication, and working together as one team was the driver in making this a success.”

While L.E. Myers has a legacy of pioneering transmission and distribution technology – including constructing the nation’s first 345kV transmission line in 1953 – the restoration of the 765kV line presented its own trials. These high-voltage backbone lines are less common than 345kV and 500kV lines, translating into less familiarity with the structure for many electrical construction companies. The lines also present logistical challenges due to their immense size – each wire alone weighing a staggering two-and-a-half pounds per foot.

“That is extremely heavy when you have 100 feet of it,” Ross said.

Undeterred, L.E. Myers executed the construction with speed and efficiency, working 12-hour days and through some weekends to get the job done. At one point while the crews were waiting on foundations to be completed, they restored about 18 tornado-damaged wire sections on another line segment, also near the damaged 765kV line.

L.E. Myers restored the line in under four weeks.

“We were able to stay productive even during the downtime of waiting to set the structures by planning and prioritizing the restoration tasks in critical order,” Ross said.

This agile time management not only accelerated the restoration but also translated into cost savings for the utility.

In the face of this sudden emergency, L.E. Myers exemplified resiliency and expertise, working with the local utility to ensure that the vital power infrastructure was swiftly restored.

Project Details: 765kV Storm Restoration