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America’s Central Port South Harbor

Location: Granite City, Illinois
Client: Port Authority
Size: $1.7 Million

Delivered electrical infrastructure and distribution supporting the South Harbor expansion of America’s Central Port created by the State of Illinois in the tri-cities area (Madison, Venice and Granite City.)  The resulting expanded facility nearly doubles the capacity of the centrally located intermodal port, which is designed to handle the complete range of commercial and commodity cargoes via river, rail and truck transportation.

The South Harbor implementation involved a substantial value engineering effort, which unfolded as follows: The original design called for 800 amps of power at 480V to be installed from the Service entrance building to the barge load-out tower. The original design called for three four inch conduits over the 1,300 foot length of the conveyor with 750MCM conductors in each pipe. In total, the length of the power run would have been 3900 ft. of 4 inch pipe with another 15600 ft. of 750 MCM Power. 

GECO’s solution was to install two transformers to step up and step down the voltage to better manage the distances and save on construction costs. This approach enabled the team to substantially reduce wire and conduit sizes required, resulting in more than $100,000 in savings on material and labor for the owner.  

Considerable preconstruction planning led to a modular approach for constructing the main conveyor serving the South Harbor installation.  Building the conveyor out on the ground in eleven 40 to 60 foot sections, Guarantee was able to run prefabricated conduit in comparable lengths and affix some 33 120V LED lights to the conveyor sections in advance.  The teams then would hoist the sections into place. Later, GECO installed the two 750 KVA transformers at the ends of the system.  The dock-side transformer on the elevated concrete pillar supplies power to the 45 foot steel tower housing the load-out control system.  A very wet spring and summer meant that the area from the levee to the river was often under water, delaying the latter stages of the conveyor installation, pulling wire etc. and necessitating life jackets and continuous communications with port officials regarding safety and emergency readiness.

Along with modular construction of the large elevated barge conveyor, three additional enclosed conveyor systems (two for trucks one for rail) were installed and wired, along with scales and sampling systems for both rail and trucks.  

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