145 West Brigham Road
St. George, UT 84790
At Dixie-Escalante Rural Electric Association we are building a new, 30-mile 138-kV transmission line from southern Utah to northern Arizona across very rugged terrain. When we requested quotes for the poles, the most economical solution turned out to be the new RS composite pole rather than steel poles. This type of pole was new technology that was unknown to us, so we visited two sites where the poles were in use on transmission lines, in West Texas and Eastern Canada, as well as the factory in Tilbury, Ontario, Canada, where the poles are made. We were impressed that the poles in both installations still looked new, even thought they’d been in service for some years already. At the factory we observed how the RS pole is made with advanced UV protection that can’t be scratched or flaked away, and is also impervious to pests, rot, and corrosion.
The pole’s strength and durability were also key concerns, but seeing the poles in use reassured us that the RS poles could stand up to the harsh conditions in southern Utah and northern Arizona. The manufacturer even devised a solution that allowed the use of the RS pole in place of steel where heavier loads on the poles were an issue, by doubling the pole wall thickness by simply placing one module inside another and fastening it in place.
The assembled RS pole is only about one-half the weight of a comparable steel pole. Because of that weight differential, we can use our existing material handling equipment and did not require heavy duty/more expensive equipment to complete the installation. And the 30-foot modules allowed us to take the poles through hilly terrain where it would have been very difficult to pull longer loads. Plus, installation is faster and easier with the lighter modules, which helps to minimize the surface impacts of line construction. And because of its material, the pole itself offers some insulating benefit and contributes to the overall BIL of the structure. We’re also eager to see how the RS performs in this particular application, and expect it will tolerate our alkaline soil better than steel, which we have found corrodes in a short time.
Dixie-Escalante should have the line finished by the end of 2010. We’re pleased with how the construction is going so far and how RS has been responsive in helping us come up with solutions to a few technical issues over the course of our project.
Colin W. Jack, P.E.
Chief Operating Officer | Dixie-Escalante Rural Electric Association, Inc.