Notable Projects

“Projects we have completed demonstrate what we know – future projects decide what we will learn.”

Dr. Mohsin Tiwana

At KDM, we pride ourselves on working together well and firing on all cylinders, making sure that clients walk away satisfied and with the positive experience of a project well done.

Fiber Design – Expansion

The client is a regional fiber carrier and business-only provider of internet services. In 2019 and 2020, they announced a $300 million multi-phase expansion in the Midwest, providing backbone services for 5G upgrade capability, along with an array of fiber services to businesses.

In August of 2019, KDM was awarded a prime contract to provide turnkey engineering services. Our design team went to work to optimize the routes and identify cost saving paths for our client. Our field teams and drafters utilized AutoCAD, Ike GPS, O-Calc, and our project management platform to complete this project. We coordinated daily with the client and their construction vendors to ensure permitting stayed ahead of construction.

KDM provided full route design, fielding, engineering, and permitting on 187 miles of aerial and underground fiber. This included 51 miles of laterals to macro sites. KDM worked with 57 jurisdictions across two states to complete all work within six months, including permit approvals. These jurisdictions included IDOT, WISDOT, Illinois Tollway, and many counties and municipalities. Utilizing our Telecommunications, Civil, Power Distribution, and Permitting divisions, this project was brought in ahead of schedule and under budget.

Map of Midwest, showing all of the fiber routes being created for Everstream by KDM Engineering.

US 14 Road Widening

Starting in the fall of 2014, IDOT reconstructed U.S. Route 14 from West Lake Shore Drive to south of Crystal Lake Avenue in McHenry County. The project was separated into two roadway contracts which was under construction concurrently: West Lake Shore Drive to Lucas Road and Lucas Road to south of Crystal lake Avenue. The project was needed as the old pavement needed to be replaced and upgraded to accommodate the current traffic demands.

KDM Engineering staff members were a part of the team that developed the design for widening US 14 in Des Plaines. We relocated utility poles with two 34 kV feeders and two 12 kV feeders. The proposed roadwork maps were studied extensively to verify the placement of the new facilities. The locations needed to be verified in order maintain the clearances between the utility poles and other underground utilities. We calculated the size of the poles that would be required to meet the local utilities requirements. Clearance violations were kept in mind; we verified all the clearance requirements were met between the primary and streetlights or buildings. We coordinated the permits for the utility pole relocation in order maintain the proper schedule for the project. After the design phase was completed, we also gave construction support to the construction company hired to relocate the poles for the utility.

Map with project markings for road widening project

600 US-14 Crystal Lake, IL

Services Provide
Primary Distribution Design
Utility Coordination
Construction Support

Commonwealth Edison
One Lincoln Centre Oakbrook, Illinois 60181630.576.6002

Project Value

Franklin Park/Tonne Substation Lighting Project

We completed designs in the Franklin Park and Tonne substations, performing lighting upgrades for ComEd. This involved retiring old fixtures, and replacing them with new, modern, LED lighting technology. The purpose of these designs, is to increase the substation lighting; allowing for workers to take advantage of improved lighting conditions in order to maintain personnel safety and adequate operation needs. These lighting improvements will ultimately provide more efficient maintenance, as well as consistent reliable performance for the Franklin Park and Tonne Substations.

KDM completed this project by surveying the existing conditions and calculating the required load. We developed a design that ensures 0.5 foot-candles requirement is achieved in 12kV/34kV/138kV bus structure areas and equipment areas, with adequate electric supply to meet 2.0 foot-candles with portable lighting, in the most efficient and economical way.

Our team was also responsible for integrating entrance gate motion detection with photocell lighting and external master control to operate the substation lighting, as well as enhance the level of substation security.

Throughout the entire design process, KDM also provided project planning and construction support.

Franklin Park/Tonne Substation showing at night

AMI/DA Smart Grid Program

After the introduction of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, KDM was brought on to the Smart Grid program as a source of support. The end result of this project was to give the grid operating department the ability to remotely monitor the entire electrical system through a radio network.

Over the last 3 years, KDM fielded, surveyed, analyzed, designed, and permitted over 3,000 locations in the ComEd territory to develop this radio network and help bring it to reality. We implemented both time and cost-efficient practices to accomplish this, and provided clients with practical, effective solutions per location, while also adhering to the required radio coverage.

Permitting coordinators had a crucial role during the permitting process, which was to ensure that we were meeting stipulations. Our coordinators worked with major entities including the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and numerous city agencies throughout ComEd territory. These partnerships allowed us to ensure that designs met requirements from different cities, and that they were ready for construction crews when applicable.

KDM provided technical support during the construction phase, as well as post-construction client system updates.

Utility pole with new AMI/DA Smart Grid Program radio equipment

Hayford Substation Voltage Optimization

Our team provided engineering support for ComEd’s Hayford Substation Voltage optimization project. This project was initiated to meet the updated industrial standards, as well as to provide feeder metering functionality. For existing conditions, KDM performed field surveys and DC battery calculations.

Development of a high voltage and low voltage corrective plan was also completed. On the low voltage side, transformer and feeder meter upgrades aim to include: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA), communications, and 3-phase kW & kVAR hourly metering. On the high voltage side, Station transformer load tap changer (LTC) controls, and capacitor controls were upgraded to be compatible with distribution voltage optimization central control systems. The design included 3-phase voltage regulators to supply superior quality in electric service.

This project was ultimately a pilot project with the aim of a much larger goal. The purpose is to provide greater accuracy in customer’s kW per hour metering, which will fundamentally protect customers from higher electricity bills going into the future.

Hayford Substation


KDM provided distribution design engineering services to OH poles in Harvey, II. Due to the growing population in this area and outdated construction and equipment, operating voltage was increased from 4kV to 12kV.

The 4-12kV conversion included the relocation of a 1500kVa 3:1 transformer to a different area in order to upgrade the poles and transformers between the new location and the old location. Approximately a mile of poles were inspected, and replaced as needed, in order to bring them up to present standards. To account for new operating voltage, the primary wire was upgraded to a larger capacity.

With the project completed ahead of schedule, the Village of Harvey was contented to see the construction activity, and improvements in their neighborhood.

Utility poles

TDC Mokena

This project was taken on by KDM under high-priority, time-limited measures for Commonwealth Edison at Substation Mokena. Our permit coordinators and engineers, worked with the Will County Division of Transportation to obtain same-day permit approval. This was immediately secured to ensure that field visits and manhole inspections would be able to be performed within 3 days of receiving the project, helping to save valuable time.

The scope of work for this project included 10,000+ feet of flame retardant copper cable replacement for three 12kV feeders from the circuit breaker, pole replacement and equipment replacement. These were all completed to increase feeder exit capacity and improve the substation safety level.

Design deliverables included: Geographic Information System (GIS) drawings, materials ordering list, and a floodplain study. A construction permit was also acquired within 3 weeks of design completion. KDM’s engineering and permitting services were continuously provided throughout the construction process. Following construction completion, KDM was responsible for applying changes in the client’s GIS system, while working with the client’s mapping team and updating corresponding records.

The swift, efficient turnaround allowed for the client to implement the adjustments to the feeder, preventing any delays or damage to the existing infrastructure.

Substation Mokena

Line Clearance Violation Research Project

The existing electrical grid has been in service for decades with new buildings constantly being expanded or newly constructed close to existing electrical lines. As engineering and safety standards continue to progress, outdated grid configurations must be updated to meet current standards, and ensure that people living near these violations are protected. A proactive program was instated to begin addressing these issues, and KDM was given the opportunity to take the helm on research of these potential violations.

Over the course of 6 months, engineers researched potential violations and field surveyed hundreds of miles of electric grid. Over 1,500 individual locations in Chicago and Northern Illinois were documented and measured to determine if the existing structures violated the updated minimum clearance requirement between wires and buildings, fire escapes, etc.

Due to the sheer number of violations and designing that would be required to fix the documented violations, KDM developed a database for the utility where the field data could be stored and cataloged. This would allow for easy reference in the future for the type of design that will have to take place to resolve these violations.

Currently, KDM is designing fixes to some of these individual violations. Our team is working with construction contractors, to make the configurations as cost effective and optimal as possible; while meeting all clearance requirements. This is going to provide high-level electricity service quality, and simultaneously maintain a safer living environment for cities and neighborhoods.

Utility poles next to building, showing line clearance issues

Overhead to Underground Conversion Project

KDM was given the responsibility of determining the most efficient solution for an underground conversion project in Kankakee, IL. This project consisted of both 12kV primary system and secondary services. Field visits were performed to collect data on existing facilities. Because of the existing infrastructure in the neighborhood, our engineers resolved to use an underground route. This would help to prevent interruptions in the neighborhood caused by trees, houses, and fences.

Load calculations were performed, and 8 pad-mount transformers were installed to provide sufficient electric service to account for both the current neighborhood needs, and future neighborhood growth/population increase. Electrical design and underground CAD drawings were provided upon project completion to accurately pinpoint and visualize the location of proposed underground cables and pipes.

The design put a limitation on the use of expensive materials to save on unneeded materials and construction costs. Additionally, it provided sufficient protection for both the electric cable and the surrounding homes.

Our team was accountable for maintaining correct data in the client’s GIS system (in the project area), to help properly reflect the existing field conditions. This design provided not only a long term solution, but also a cost-efficient solution collectively satisfying the needs of the utility and the customers in the area of design.


Third Party Pole Attachment Program

Modern overhead distribution grid systems provide communication companies the structure for routing their infrastructure. This includes fiber and DAS (Distributed Antenna System), and power supplies using the same overhead utility poles to reduce the cost for each party environmentally.

KDM Engineering is responsible for performing make-ready design on existing poles for proposed communication cable to attach or overlash. Professional engineers at KDM build models for hundreds of locations to determine if existing structures meet the new proposed requirements, interacting with engineers from communication companies. This is necessary to provide the most practical solutions for particular situations, assure the third party equipment was properly powered by overhead electrical systems, and that the targeted customers are serviced.

Utility Pole