15-Mile 69kV Transmission Line RebuildSouthern New Jersey


Riggs Distler was contracted to modernize and upgrade the performance of a major electric transmission line connecting two substations in southern New Jersey. Though it passes mostly through suburban terrain along municipal, County, and State roadways, the 15.1-mile-long project route also contains several wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas. Riggs Distler’s Transmission, Environmental Matting and Subcontractor partners  are working together to complete the work. The project involves:

  • Demolition and removal of 445 existing wood structures.
  • Installation of 292 new steel monopole and 74 wood structures.
  • Line conductoring. 
  • Fiber Optics
  • Overhead and Underground Distribution
  • Installation of 14 pole structures/foundations using helicopter construction techniques.
  • Extensive environmental matting in marshlands and difficult-to-access areas. 

Once completed, the project will greatly improve power reliability between two substations that serve Egg Harbor Township and Ocean County communities providing a highly reliable energy supply. 

Challenges Overcome

The majority of the transmission line runs parallel to the Garden State Parkway, and in some areas, it passes through normally inaccessible marshlands along the roadway. Due to the unstable ground condition in these areas, helicopter installations were required, which attracted a great deal of attention from community members and travelers on the parkway. In order to ensure an optimally safe environment for our crews and the public,  Riggs Distler partnered with the New Jersey State Police, requesting their assistance to rove the Parkway and encourage stopped motorists to move along. 

The transmission line involved several Parkway crossings, which could not be performed over moving traffic. Riggs Distler prepared a wire-pulling plan and presented it to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA), then coordinated traffic slowdowns with the NJTA and State Police to ensure the line was installed safely. 

Riggs Distler also worked with a third‐party testing firm to monitor vibrations caused by driving caisson foundations. Vibration is limited to an acceptable engineered threshold throughout the transmission line project path as work progressed from South to North.

Finally, poor weather posed a challenge. We encountered several high-wind days on which the helicopters could not safely complete their work. Despite the associated delays, Riggs Distler was able to maintain the project schedule and complete all helicopter work within the planned timeline.

Riggs Distler accepted additional project scope at the customer’s request to replace two degraded structures on an adjacent line to ensure overall system reliability for the public. We exceeded schedule expectations despite incurring a lost time day due to inclement weather high winds grounding both helicopters for 1 ½ days.

Results Delivered

Despite working alongside a major highway, within protected marshlands and endangered species habitat, and coordinating aerial installations by helicopter, Riggs Distler is swiftly completing the transmission line upgrade work on schedule. This complex project was authorized under multiple permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pinelands Commission, Cape‐Atlantic Conservation District, Burlington County Soil Conservation District, and Ocean County Soil Conservation District. We’re proud of our work on this important project to improve electrical service reliability for the residents and businesses of southern New Jersey.