Throughout the United States, there are over 120 million utility poles providing electricity to residents and businesses. This number continues to increase by roughly 3 million each year.
As utility providers aim to provide reliable service, many have begun to use steel poles.
Steel poles are rapidly increasing in popularity for utility projects around the country.
Here are some of the top reasons why steel utility poles are an excellent choice.
Advantages of Steel for Utility Poles
There are many key benefits of using steel poles including:
This material is ideal for coastal installations. Why? Because of its extreme resistance to corrosion.
Coastal environments are pretty harsh for transmission structures. The weather conditions can be quite wet, windy, and hot. Steel can handle these intense conditions with ease. It’s incredibly durable and corrosion-resistant. Even in a coastal environment, these poles can last in great condition for over 50 years.
For utility providers, reliability is a necessity. Ensuring reliable service is critical for customers and the local communities.
Even a single-pole outage can lead to a catastrophic system failure. One downed pole can lead to cascading issues down the service line, leading to outages and poor service overall.
Since steel is such a durable, weather-resistant material, it is ideal for reliable utility service. They follow the minimum load requirements from the American Society of Civil Engineers National Electric Safety Code. For companies looking to deliver electricity in all weather conditions, steel is a great option. It allows providers to ensure reliable service through snow, sleet, rain, wind, fire, and more.
While steel poles are more resistant to damage, they also carry another key benefit: repairability. It takes an immense amount of force to damage one of these poles, but if one does experience damage it is easier to repair.
The greater repairability of these poles reduces the chances of cascading events and long-term effects. Since they are easier and faster to repair, utility companies can more quickly remedy any issues.
Steel utility poles are a highly cost-effective solution. Upfront, they are more expensive, but over their life cycle, they will cost less than alternative material options.
For one, installation is quicker and requires less labor, especially since they may be pre-drilled at the factory. Once the poles are installed, they harbor lower overall maintenance costs. Furthermore, poles made from steel are lighter than other materials. This also helps reduce the cost of handling, transportation, and construction. Again, the increased durability also helps reduce costs from repairs and replacement.
The low maintenance of steel poles is part of what helps make them so cost-effective. These poles are able to retain their shape and strength over several years, despite harsh weather.
They do not experience extensive shrinkage, and thus do not require significant tightening hardware. There’s no need to worry about rot, woodpeckers, or insect damage with steel either.
Overall, they do not require much maintenance. They’re easy to maintain, which helps save time, effort, and expense on maintenance tasks.
Overall, steel utility poles reduce the impact on the environment. They have lower levels of aerosol and greenhouse gas emissions, helping to reduce the harm associated with these hazardous wastes.
The longer lifespan of steel poles is a primary reason for their sustainability. They tend to last at least 60 years, which drastically reduces the need for replacements. Furthermore, steel has a high recycling rate, so it’s easier to properly dispose of after use.
For both the general public and utility workers, steel offers several safety advantages. Working with electricity is undeniably dangerous.
Since these poles reduce the need for maintenance and inspection, they can also reduce the risk of accidents. They are also safe to install or work on under a lot line/energized working setup.
Common public safety risk is hitting a utility pole with a vehicle. When a car hits a steel pole, the pole will bend, rather than shear. This helps ensure the energized lines stay upright, and away from those in the vehicle.
Challenges of Using Steel Poles
Despite the many benefits of using these types of utility poles, there are many key challenges for doing so.
Removing Old Poles
If you’re considering changing from wood or concrete to steel poles, then, of course, you must first remove the old poles.
For most utility companies, this change does not make sense to consider until the current poles are near the end of their lifecycle anyway. At that time, you must determine the type of replacement poles to bring in.
Still, finding the right hauling company to handle used poles can be tricky. This is a major challenge for many utility providers and can cause them to continue to spend a ton of money and time on poles that need replacement.
Transporting New Utility Poles
One of the biggest obstacles utility companies is actually getting the poles to the material yards.
Transporting steel poles involves extremely high load requirements. Simply put, the vast majority of hauling and trucking companies do not have the necessary equipment for transporting the steel poles.
For some utility project managers, this challenge is too great to overcome. The logistical challenge of getting the new steel poles to the utility site may prevent some providers from choosing them.
Blackwood Resources is Here to Help with Steel Utility Pole Hauling
Ultimately, steel poles offer many important benefits for utility providers. They are incredibly durable and long-lasting, even in harsh environments. Steel has an incredibly long life span, and as a very strong material is can help prevent serious shortages. Beyond that, it’s a highly sustainable and cost-effective option, one that also improves worker and resident safety.
For many utility companies, there’s just one huge problem standing in the way of this excellent option: getting the new steel poles to your job site.
That’s where we come in.
Blackwood Resources is here to help with all of your utility pole hauling needs. We have specialized trucks that can handle steel poles with ease. You can count on our certified women-owned trucking company to handle all of your utility pole hauling needs.
Furthermore, we provide an asset-based hauling service. This means we own our own equipment and directly hire our drivers. Better, yet we are a self-unloading hauling company, which means we unload your poles right on your site. No need to hire more people or rent any other equipment for unloading.
Learn more about how we can help you with your steel utility pole transport needs today. Contact us at 812-676-8770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.