Prelude to construction in Ridgecrest: City Light moving light poles

Friday, June 5, 2020

City Light crews doing a private job in Ridgecrest

Story and photos by Patricia Hale

Arden Homes purchased a property in Ridgecrest at 16539 8th Ave NE with a single family home.

They are redeveloping the property and plan to demolish the existing house, clear-cut the trees and build 16 homes that will sell for $1 - 1.5 million each.

In order to create a central driveway to the homes, they had to hire Seattle City Light to move a light pole. SCL crews were hard at work on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

The pole you see is the one to be relocated. The truck and its equipment are drilling the 10’ deep hole for the new pole.

They use a combination of drilling, suctioning and water power flushing to suck up the soil in the 10 foot deep hole being drilled. Everything goes into the contamination containment tanks on the back of the truck to be appropriately disposed of.

No idea at this point how deep they had gone. The had already been drilling for 1 - 1/2 hours. Soil conditions, how much rock, hard pan and soil compaction all affect how long this could take.

Once the hole is complete, big rigs come in to lift the new pole that is lying on the side of the road to perpendicular and lower it into the hole and secure it to stand alone. After a couple of days, when the pole is set, they will place cross beams and huge insulators.

Then specialized crews come in for the “high wire” act of transferring the high voltage lines from the old pole to the new one.

I am not sure if the voltage of these particular lines but have heard it is 15,000 Kv (kilo volts) of power or more. (A reader commented that it is 120,000 volts)

I imagine these guys know what they are doing, as Seattle City Light is the nation's 10th largest public power system and first carbon-neutral utility, serving more than 410,000 customers.

Arden has two projects on the same street and had to have poles moved for both projects. City Light crews worked on both projects at the same time. You can see the second crew in the background.

New pole is in place. Workers were getting the high tension lines ready to be transferred to the new pole when they return.


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