Worker working on power lines
Pikeville, KY

Project Spotlight: Kentucky Lattice Work

As a company founded in 1953, it’s hard to imagine all the projects our team accomplished over the past seventy years. From pioneering new techniques and adapting to new technologies, there’s not much we haven’t done when it comes to electrical construction.

This summer, our Overhead Line team tackled the Kentucky Lattice Work Project. While many aspects of the project were challenging, like terrain and moving heavy equipment, we took the challenge head-on, and we couldn’t be more proud of the result.

At the Top of the World

This project took our Overhead Transmission Line team to Pikeville, Kentucky, located in the mountainous eastern part of the state near the Virginia and West Virginia borders. With our crew of workers, our team has been working on a double circuit 138kv new build as well as constructing lattice towers and monopole structures.

“It’s hard to describe how remote this project is,” says Damien Phillips, VP of Overhead Line with New River Electrical. “Just getting materials up the access road is a challenge alone.”

New River Electrical has called the Appalachian Mountains home since the beginning, so we’re used to navigating rugged terrain on many of our projects in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Even though we do it all the time, it doesn’t make it any easier. But it sure does offer breathtaking views from the top of the towers!

An NRE worker using a wrench on power lines high above ground

“The delivery of the steel is very hard here because of the road conditions to get all of this massive weight into the area where we need to go,” says Orrin Fixx, General Foreman. Then, once the materials get to the work site, the crane pads are very small, so there’s limited area to work. It’s a safety challenge from start to finish, but as the team knows, New River works hard to get everyone the equipment they need so the work can get done safely and efficiently.

Safety Comes Second Nature

On a project where you have a whole crew working together in a small space, functioning as one unit is critical to prevent any miscommunications and mistakes that could impact the efficiency of the project or, worse, the safety of our crews. That’s why our team had full-crew meetings in the morning every day.

“We get together and discuss the job briefing: what we plan to get done that day, what tasks are being performed, what’s on schedule. Everything that happens, we talk about it,” says Phillips. “We follow that up with a Task Hazard Analysis where we think through any hazards they may face during their tasks that day and how to prevent any injury.”

Our crews dedicated an hour to safety at the start of each day. “The more you talk about safety, the more it becomes second nature. It’s not just something you’re chatting about; you’re living it,” explains Phillips.

A group of NRE workers having a discussion at a jobsite

Looking back on the day-in, day-out work, Phillips is proud of the crews and leadership team for living out New River’s slogan of ‘Setting the Standard.’

“All those boots-on-the-ground guys working on this project and our field leadership – Orrin Fixx, Josh Hopkins, and Jake Korngable – job well done to them. We really believe in setting the standard in safety, professionalism, and quality. It’s who we are, and it’s great that this project makes our crew’s commitment to these values abundantly clear.”

An NRE worker adjusting their harness