June 10, 2022

Team Overcomes Tight Deadlines, Unexpected Swamp on Indiana Transmission Rebuild

In July 2021, Cianbro completed the Deer Creek to Wes Del 138kV BOLD transmission rebuild for AEP. Located near Muncie, Indiana, the 19.7-mile steel monopole project consisted of two circuits constructed on 114 concrete foundations.

While approaching the completion of the project, AEP identified system load issues in the region and asked the team to respond by finishing the project early. The team was able to react quickly, adjusting plans to safely execute the new deadline. The line was successfully energized the first week of May, two months ahead of schedule.

The Deer Creek to Wes Del project was not without hurdles for the team to overcome. Aside from the need for an expedited completion, the team also faced a difficult location with existing lattice towers to be removed from a swamp. The new line routed around this area, so the team was able to get the line energized, but had to formulate a plan to come back and tackle the swamp area in the summer of 2021. Our first attempt involved utilizing an MD-500 work helicopter and Blackhawk heavy-lift helicopter to remove the two towers in sections. As that work began, the team discovered there was no safe way to remove the lowest sections of the towers solely from the air.

The team went back to the drawing board and developed a plan using amphibious vehicles in conjunction with aerial support from an MD-500 to remove the remaining steel from the swamp. The modified plan allowed work to be completed safely in the challenging swamp environment. AEP and external stakeholders expressed how impressed they were with the innovative approach from the team to solve the problem successfully.

The team’s successful completion of the swamp scope serves as a microcosm for how the team approached the entire project. Utilizing daily and weekly planning, we were able to adjust to the challenges and needs of our client while executing the project without any recordable injuries and with zero environmental incidents. The field leadership team did an outstanding job of delivering a quality project while spearheading and promoting our safety culture for the project’s duration.

To read more about our team's accomplishments throughout 2021, visit


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