Managing Risks for Underground Transmission Line Installations

Date: September 25, 2019 7:30am
Location: SGH Chicago
sgh chicago

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
135 South LaSalle Street, Suite 3800 
Chicago, IL 60603

7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Registration & Coffee
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. Presentation & Discussion
9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Breakfast Reception 

We will also hold an evening session for this seminar.

aia logoParticipants will earn 1.5 AIA/CES Learning Units (LU/HSW) for their attendance. Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments.


Belmont Light needed to upgrade its aging substation and power transmission and distribution systems to improve reliability and prepare for growing demands. The project involved constructing a new substation in Belmont, Massachusetts, and two 0.8 mile, 115kV buried transmission lines along an existing commuter rail right-of-way connecting area suburbs to Boston. This alignment, while the least disruptive to the community, posed significant technical challenges and at one point was considered practically unbuildable. In this presentation, we will explore this case study and highlight how the project team worked together to manage risks arising from several key challenges, including avoiding various environmental resource areas, excavating alongside an active commuter railway, and dealing with highly varying soil conditions.

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss design and construction challenges that arose on this project and how they were managed and resolved by the project team.
  • Illustrate how the appropriate technology can help overcome challenging site conditions.
  • Demonstrate how a proactive approach to involving all stakeholders, including utility owner agencies, during design development can minimize conflicts during construction.
  • Discuss the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to meet demanding client needs.



giuliana zelada sghGiuliana A. Zelada, P.E. | Senior Project Manager
Giuliana Zelada specializes in geotechnical engineering and underground construction. She provides planning, design, risk assessment, and construction support services in the areas of shallow and deep foundation systems, earth retention systems, deep excavations, retaining walls, construction dewatering, and groundwater monitoring for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, as well as power stations and substations. Giuliana has also participated in several investigations into causes of building and structure settlement and heave, retaining wall failures, and slope failures, and has provided litigation support for various projects.


  • Owners
  • Facilities Managers
  • Property Managers
  • Contractors
  • Architects
  • Attorneys