Substation control panel at Merck

EM1/EM2 Substation and Feeder Replacement Project

EM1/EM2 Substation and Feeder Replacement Project | Kenilworth, NJ

The Merck EM1/EM2 Substation and Feeder Replacement Project was a three-year project performed under a design-build contract in conjunction with a teaming agreement with Forest Electric, the electrical subcontractor. The project upgraded 40-year-old systems that were no longer as reliable as a global corporate headquarters and mission critical lab required.

Working on An

Active Campus

Executed without interrupting work on the active campus, DPR relocated one 26 kV substation into an existing structure while prefabricating and building another new 5 kV substation across campus. Both existing substations were demolished and the 26kV and 5kV cables feeding the campus’s eight major buildings were replaced. Additional work included the replacement of electrical equipment at two outdated 5kV substations, the demolition of an existing decommissioned substation, and a brand new 5kV substation to feed the main corporate administrations building on campus.

A Culture Of


The majority of the work needed to be coordinated with various campus stakeholders to ensure switching service from old to new infrastructure did not affect research and development of life saving medications. Additionally, much work required access to systems through manholes, which required confined space permits and heightened safety supervision. To alleviate this safety hazard, crews employed remote control cable cutters.

Safety was paramount throughout the project, with DPR’s team aligning with Merck’s existing safety culture. Aided by the design-build approach, the entire team took safety to be its job, with the customer leading the way. The project amassed more than 200,000 worker-hours and only one recordable incident. Merck recognized DPR for its efforts with one of its regional safety awards, highlighting its excellent safety practices.

The job finished on schedule and under budget, aided by a collaborative approach that made delivery as seamless as possible.

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