NES preps for massive tunnel to support SoBro substation

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 9:05pm

Nashville Electric Service officials are about to begin one of the utility’s more significant projects in recent years, digging a 3,000-foot-long and 150-foot-deep tunnel to support power lines for the future substation in SoBro.

Tim Hill, NES spokesman, said crews are setting up equipment to begin work on the project, which will involve a massive auger and a conveyor belt system for removing dirt and rock spanning from Fourth Avenue South and McCann Street south of the inner-interstate loop to the under-construction substation, located at Korean Veterans Boulevard and Sixth Avenue South.

“This is the first time we have put 69kV distribution lines in a tunnel underground,” Hill said, adding that previously installed 69kV lines in other sections of the city have been encased in duct banks and have run shorter distances. The diameter for the new tunnel is 8 feet.

“We have not done anything on this magnitude,” Hill said of the scale and scope of the tunnel and lines. A line servicing Vanderbilt University is the closest in size, he added.

As part of the overall project, simultaneously being undertaken with work on the Music City Center convention facility, NES will place a significant number of overhead SoBro power lines underground, Hill said.