For almost three weeks, line crews from multiple regions replaced about 160 structures along the 22-mile Goldmine Tap-to-Knob 161-kilovolt line segment outside Yuma, Arizona.
Between Jan. 29 and Feb. 16, more than 40 linemen from Desert Southwest, Rocky Mountain and Upper Great Plains replaced 348 poles on a wooden H-frame line that had been in service since 1943.
“We put in new poles, crossarms and X-braces, among other things,” said Foreman II Lineman Brian Heisler, who coordinated the work. “Everything was replaced but the conductor.”
The line had reached the end of its useful service life and needed to be completely replaced. Crews will replace an additional 40 miles of the full Blythe-to-Knob 161-kV line over the next two years.
“It was a combined effort,” said Heisler. “It worked out great. These guys love to work together. They work hard, and they have a good time doing it. They have a lot of pride and like doing good work.”
Unique to this job was the inclusion of UGP’s pole haulers, which are vehicles that require only two people to distribute and collect poles instead of four or five.
“Those pole haulers were a godsend,” said Foreman III Lineman Ed Hunt. “Instead of having a Bobcat follow a truck around to lift the new poles to the ground and the old ones into the pole trailer, this semi has a grapple arm crane on it. In my opinion, every region should have one of them.”
The UGP crews drove down to lay the new poles at each tower at the beginning of the job, then returned three weeks later to collect the removed poles.
“The pole hauler is safer and more efficient,” Heisler said. “It’s a self-contained, self-loading truck. It’s a wonderful tool and great asset.”
This massive job was completed on time and with zero injuries.
“We appreciate everyone who came down to work on it,” concluded Heisler. “It was a big group effort. It’s a really great thing when you can get two or three regions working together.”