Key Crossing Reliability Initiative Project Wins Three Distinguished Design Awards

Sargent & Lundy served as engineer of record for overhead transmission system spanning Patapsco River

April 5, 2023 – Sargent & Lundy was recently honored with three notable awards recognizing our work on the Key Crossing Reliability Initiative for Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE, an Exelon Company), Maryland’s largest electric utility providers.

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute presented a 2023 PCI Design Award to this project from the Best Transportation Special Solution category. The awards program recognizes design excellence and construction quality using precast concrete and selects projects on their creativity and ingenuity to achieve aesthetic expression, function, economy, and sustainability.

Sargent & Lundy Key Crossing Reliability Initiative

The firm also received a 2023 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies/Maryland for its work on this project. ACEC/MD’s annual competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of innovation, achievement, and value.

The national ACEC association, which represents the state and regional councils like ACEC/MD, subsequently awarded the firm and Key Crossing project a National Recognition Award, their prestigious distinction honoring projects of exceptional engineering excellence at a national level.

As the project’s engineer of record, Sargent & Lundy joined a collective team of engineering and construction consultants to design and execute the complex installation of an overhead dual circuit 230kV transmission system over the Patapsco River parallel to the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. Their goal in replacing the aging and degrading underground infrastructure was to provide reliable power to BGE’s 1.2 million residential and business customers while minimizing the environmental impact on Baltimore Harbor.

Installing over two miles of overhead high-voltage power lines required eight transmission towers – five within the Patapsco River and three land based. The design of the towers included innovative concrete construction using 67 precast pile caps and 62 precast panels supported by pipe piles for safe and efficient construction on the water. Vessel collision protection structures were incorporated to protect the transmission towers from marine vessel incidents. Due to their unique design, the two center monopole structures have the distinction of being the tallest in North America.

“The awards from PCI, ACEC/MD, and ACEC showcase how Sargent & Lundy leverages innovation and quality – two of our firm’s deeply-rooted core values – to design transmission projects that are truly one-of-a-kind,” stated Sargent & Lundy Vice President and Project Director Dawn Buchel. “By collaborating with all project stakeholders, we worked together to find a creative solution to deliver reliable power while maintaining environmental requirements.”

The innovative project design required use of material that accommodated the conductor span length, high clearance, dynamic wind response, and variable weather temperatures. Considerations were given to cost, schedule, design complexity, environmental impact, safety, community stewardship, stakeholder preferences, permitting complications, and interruption of shipping along the Patapsco River.

Onsite construction began in May 2020, and the project was successfully placed into operation in May 2022, approximately one year ahead of baseline plans and at significant cost savings.

Learn more about the project here, and view BGE’s project video and overview here.

About PCI and the PCI Design Awards

PCI is a collaborative group of industry stakeholders dedicated to promoting the broader use of precast concrete systems. They engage their constituents through standards development, certification, marketing, and education. Its 60-year awards program demonstrates “how designers are continuing to utilize high performance precast/prestressed concrete to achieve sustainable, more effective, aesthetically-pleasing, and quickly-constructed projects.”

About ACEC, ACEC/MD and the Engineering Excellence Awards

ACEC provides government advocacy, political action, and business education to more than 600,000 engineers, architects, land surveyors, and other specialists through its state and regional councils. ACEC/MD is the engineering industry’s business association for the state of Maryland, representing and advancing the interests of its member companies. Projects for its Engineering Excellence awards were evaluated on uniqueness and/or innovative applications of new or existing techniques; future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner needs.


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