PSE to replace poles

Puget Sound Energy “tree wire” project is keeping flaggers busy these days along a 1.7-mile stretch of New Brooklyn Road.

The project, which includes replacing several older poles with new ones, focuses on reliability by replacing wires with stronger ones that have insulated rubber coating and are more resistant to branches falling on the wires.

“The new wire is heavier so it’s also important that we replace some of the existing poles with new ones that are stouter and have cross-arms to keep the other wires separate,” said Gretchen Aliabadi, PSE’s public relations manager. “This is about reliability and has nothing to do with capacity.”

Potelco, PSE’s service provider, has been working on the project since late last year and will continue through much of this year,” Aliabadi said.

She said many of the cedar poles along New Brooklyn and other island roads are between 50 and 80 years old. The ones being replaced are heavily are weathered, having turned a whitish gray.

On Wednesday, members of the Potelco crew took great care as they placed the newer, sturdier poles next to the older ones not to damage the existing wires.

“You have to be really careful getting the poles in the right position in the first place, and then making sure you don’t clip a wire because that can be dangerous because they’re hot while we are doing it,” said a Potelco crew member.

The crew placed sleeves around some parts of the wires in order to protect them.

Deputy City Manager Morgan Smith also offered some information Wednesday night on two other PSE projects that will be under way soon.

• Phase II of the “Murden Cove” project include the cutting down of 10 planted trees on the east side of Madison Avenue near the Sakai Village Loop Road.

Smith said the trees, which are 20 to 24 feet tall and up to 6 inches in diameter, need to be eliminated because the powerline project can’t go around them.

New trees will be planted once the work is done, she said.

• The first phase of PSE’s “Winslow 15” underground project will require only a right-of-way permit from the city on the upper part of Bucklin Hill Road between Lynwood Center Road and Blakely Avenue.

The second phase, however, may require SEPA review because it will continue down Bucklin Hill, then turning east on Eagle Harbor Drive for several hundred feet.

This portion of the project will be in the shoreline jurisdiction, and PSE thinks one of its vaults will be within a wetland buffer.

Smith said SEPA permits may be required because an underground vault may be in the water table at the End of the Bay.


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