Cut & Kick – Replacing Aging Poles
Power pole replacement presents many variables directing how the work gets done.
The recent distribution pole changeout on Lawrence Street in Port Townsend presented the Jefferson PUD line crew with a few challenges due to the state of the existing pole and lack of additional ground around the area to place the new pole.
Solution time. The crew implemented a method known as ‘cut & kick’ for this particular replacement. Cut & kick involves grabbing the existing pole with the digger truck to support it while line crew cut the base free. The pole (and all its attachments) is safely moved aside from the hole location. A large screw attachment called a “ground rod” is then driven into what remains of the old pole base still in the ground. Distribution poles are often buried 6 feet into the ground. Like a cork in a wine bottle, a little upward pressure from the line truck and out comes the old pole leaving a (nearly) perfect hole for the new pole to set into.
Given the state of the pole the base may be heavily rotted, leaving additional digging or boring to produce a clean hole for placement of the new pole. The new pole is carefully placed using another digger rig. The pole is leveled and fill material is placed around the base.
Line crew then transfer the attachments from the old pole to the new one. In the case of the Lawrence Street pole—which supported 3-phase power on top—a pole-mounted transformer and single-phase tap needed to be moved, all while the primary lines were hot (energized).
All in a day’s work for our line crew!