SDG&E reached a key milestone in the largest capital project in company history: the first Sunrise Powerlink 230-kV underground vault was placed in Alpine Boulevard, San Diego, Calif. in mid December. SDG&E will install a total of 40 concrete vaults along Alpine Boulevard during the underground construction project.

After receiving a Notice to Proceed from the California Public Utilities Commission, SDG&E began construction on the 6.2-mi underground segment of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line -n November in Alpine. Earlier in the fall, SDG&E received authorization to begin construction on several preliminary components of the project, including substation upgrades, construction staging yards and field offices. The 117-mi transmission line is expected to be completed in 2012.

The three-section vault was put in place in approximately one hour. The traffic flow in the area was light and traffic delays were limited to approximately nine minutes at a time. The length of time expected to place the remaining 39 vaults along Alpine Boulevard is expected to significantly decrease moving forward.

SDG&E has developed a plan to minimize disruptions by maintaining access to all businesses along Alpine Boulevard, and most of the route will have two lanes of traffic available to motorists. In addition to minimizing construction impacts, SDG&E is committed to leave Alpine Boulevard in better condition than when the project started. These improvements could include items such as new sidewalks, gutters and rubberized asphalt.

In anticipation of the start of transmission-line construction in Alpine, SDG&E has been conducting extensive outreach through community council meetings, letters, public notices, door hangers, ads and door-to-door visits to notify every business-owner on Alpine Boulevard of planned construction activities in the area. In a recent visit to business owners, SDG&E representatives provided a handy computer mouse imprinted with contact information so the answers to any Sunrise-related questions would be at their “fingertips.”