More utility providers are installing steel utility poles to keep their infrastructures up and running.
Why? What are the benefits of steel poles? Do they present any disadvantages?
This article will answer these and other questions to teach you everything you should know about steel utility poles.
Steel Utility Poles Basics
Steel utility poles are usually made from an alloy of iron with carbon. They can resist a variety of conditions, proving especially useful in certain climates. You could find steel poles in coastal regions and other humid areas because they can stand strong against the effects of water, wind, and heat.
There are two main types of steel poles. Stepped poles are not as large as other types of utility poles. They are typically used to hold road signs. Swaged poles are stronger so they can hold up street lights and such.
The strength of steel poles depends on how they are coated. Galvanized steel poles are placed in molten zinc to create an internal and external protective coat. Weathered steel poles are often uncoated but have an oxide barrier that prevents climate corrosion. Below-ground steel poles could be galvanized or weathered. They have another protective layer that guards against soil corrosion.
How Long Do Steel Utility Poles Last?
Corrosion resistance has its benefits. Steel utility poles can last for 50 years or longer.
When and Where to Use Steel Utility Poles
Utility companies use steel poles when they want:
To install in coastal regions
As previously mentioned, steel poles are perfect for coastal environments that experience scorching temperatures, heavy humidity, and fierce storms. Whereas wooden and concrete poles might be adequate in these areas, steel poles can withstand the elements better.
Utility companies need to employ the most dependable equipment to keep their customers connected. Steel poles’ durability makes them reliable regardless of where they are installed. They are more difficult to knock down in a severe weather, fire, or impact event.
An easy fix
It takes a lot of damage to bring down a steel utility pole. However, utility companies can easily and quickly repair one on the off-chance an incident occurs.
A low-maintenance pole
Steel poles can retain their shapes for many years. They do not shrink as much as other types of poles so they do not need constant tightening. Utility companies can also disregard rot, woodpecker, and insect damage since the poles are made of steel.
A cost-effective pole option
Although they are typically more expensive upfront, steel poles’ longevity and strength more than make up for the initial investment.
The Disadvantages of Steel Utility Poles
Steel poles are not a perfect solution. They have drawbacks like their wooden and concrete counterparts. Steel poles are difficult to:
Their immense size can be challenging to overcome when it is time to replace them. Utility companies generally wait until the poles can not be repaired any further before replacing them. Lifting them from the ground requires heavy equipment and deep expertise. It is a dangerous, but necessary task.
Loading, hauling, and unloading steel poles can seem like an insurmountable feat. Their biggest strength is their biggest weakness. Some utility companies will postpone replacing their steel poles because they are not capable of transporting them. The logistical challenge can interrupt service for millions of their customers.
Hauling Steel Utility Poles
Utility pole hauling is difficult regardless of size, length, weight, or composition. Utility project managers must:
Rent the hauling trucks and loading/unloading equipment
Unfortunately, poles can not magically arrive at job sites. They must be unloaded from rail cars onto haulers, driven safely to work sites, and then unloaded again. These heavy jobs require the right equipment.
Hire drivers, operators, and riggers
Even though automation has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, utility haulers, cranes, and forklifts can not deliver utility materials themselves. They still require a human element behind the wheel. Utility managers have to make sure the most skilled and safest operators handle delivery duties.
Hauling utility poles can be dangerous. Permits all but guarantee that drivers can deliver their cargo safely. Permits are promises to the local government and the public that drivers will follow the rules.
Depending on the size of a project, coordinating workers and equipment can be just as challenging as the actual physical work. Utility managers have to be organized to keep up with their project’s demands.
Hope for the best
Project managers who halfheartedly manage their utility materials transportation could experience a shock if something goes wrong. An unqualified driver could cause an accident. A rigger with a history of negligence could injure himself or someone else. Delays could run rampant. Project managers have to trust the people they have hired and the equipment they have rented.
The Easiest Way to Haul Steel Utility Poles
Outsourcing your steel utility pole haul to Blackwood Resources can be the easiest way to get your steel, concrete, or wooden poles on time.
We focus on quality control and customer service to relieve the pressure utility project managers like you face daily. We take on all of the responsibilities of your utility materials delivery. You can rest easy knowing experts with years of experience will load, haul, and unload whatever you need.
Are you ready to overcome the challenges of steel pole hauling?
Contact us today so we can get started.