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Author Topic: Utility Pole Installation Costs  (Read 16369 times)
W2RWJ
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Posts: 184




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« on: January 06, 2013, 07:00:13 PM »

Anyone in NJ have a new utility pole installed recently?  Looking for ballpark figures

Martin Flynn
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W9GB
Member

Posts: 2623




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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 08:00:47 AM »

Martin -

In my experience, the cost varies wildly (pole and labor for install).

The "best situation" is a local power coop with a regular training program for pole crews (how to properly install).
In those situations, a good relationship/local contact with these programs
 can get your pole installed for the price of the wooden pole!  
Price for the wooden pole has increased over past 2 decades.
Utility company may have better price, per pole, due to volume purchases.


Current prices for wooden utility poles, by height (25 to 55 feet in 5 ft. increments)
American Timber stocks Utility Poles across the eastern United States in several classes,
up to 55’ in length, treated with CCA to a retention of .60 lbs. per cubic foot.
http://www.americantimberandsteel.com/poles-pilings-utility-poles-unframed-cca.html

American Timber and Steel Corp., Inc.              
4832 Plank Road
Norwalk, OH 44857
Phone: 419.668.1610
Fax: 419.663.1077
Hours: M-F 8:00AM - 6:00 PM Eastern
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 08:15:24 AM by W9GB » Logged
W2LO
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Posts: 216




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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 09:04:15 AM »

 I'm in Tennessee and over the past few years I have tried without success to locate and have installed a utility pole with about 50-55 ft above ground. I have spoken to local utilities as well as ones at some distance and they all tell me the same thing: they don't sell used poles (so what do they do with them??) and they can't put me on to anyone. One local outfit that does contract work installing poles for the utilities is uninterested in me.
 
 American Timber and other large suppliers are prohibitively expensive for one or two poles when you add on shipping.

 I can find a few old, short (20-30 ft) poles that farmers. etc. have but getting a tall one (over 35-40 ft) and having it installed seems to be impossible.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 09:07:24 AM by W2LO » Logged
W0FM
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Posts: 2055




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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 01:30:32 PM »

Martin,

We sell Emergency Outdoor Warning Sirens and steer away from using utility companies for supplying the poles.  We found the best results is to contact a decent size electrical contractor in your area.  They can give you a price for the pole and installation as a package.  Some local tower services will also quote a utility pole/install package.  It's not cheap, but a lot less expensive than buying from the local utility company then paying someone else to install it.  Good luck.

73,
Terry, WØFM
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AD4U
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Posts: 2166




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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 02:22:51 PM »

While this is not the best or the safest way, I installed and removed several myself with a backhoe.  My Case 580K backhoe has what they call an "extend-a-hoe", which allows the "digging end" to be hydraulically extended an additional four feet over the standard 14 feet.  With the backhoe completely extended the top of the boom is around 18 feet above ground.  In this configuration the lifting capacity of the backhoe is easily several thousand pounds. 

Since all wooden power poles are MUCH heavier at the butt end than at the top end, you do not need to attach the choker cable (not a chain) at the middle of the pole to handle it.  In my case I found that attaching the choker cable at around the 17 foot mark on a 45 foot tall class 3 pole still allowed the butt end of the pole to be heavier than the top end.  When lifted the pole "assumed the vertical position" and it was easy set it in the hole.  You also need a couple of helpers with long rope "tag lines" attached some 6 feet from the butt end of the pole to guide it into the pre-dug hole when it is lifted.

By all means use a pole setting truck and crew if you want complete safety, but this usually COSTS!  Using a backhoe as explained here can be dangerous.  I have been running a backhoe for many years.  I know what I am doing and I accept the small risk.

Point is that most of us have or know a "friend" who owns a backhoe.  Not everyone has a friend with a pole setting truck.  I have set and remove similar poles for HAM friends for nothing or for a hamburger on the grill when we finished.

Dick  AD4U
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AJ3O
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 02:46:55 PM »

If you know of a nearby highway job where they had to relocate the utility poles for construction, talk to the foreman of the utility that moved the poles. While it is true that the utility almost never reuses a pole, they will "give them away" if you have a means of hauling them yourself. "Local ham buddy with a utility trailer or similar"
Let me give you a suggestion, and not all utility workers will do it, but some will. Offer a case or two of beer for what you need and if it sounds easy enough and close enough, they will show up with up to three poles for you when they come across some decent poles at or near the height that you need. Don't ask how I know, but it works for that and also possibly a roll of 4 gauge wire..... Wink
I have been told that the utility company just takes them to the shredder for mulch to recoup some costs. To reuse a pole is pretty much a liability for them and their insurance company.


Joe / AJ3O
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W8JX
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Posts: 5883




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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 03:04:21 PM »

While this is not the best or the safest way, I installed and removed several myself with a backhoe.  My Case 580K backhoe has what they call an "extend-a-hoe", which allows the "digging end" to be hydraulically extended an additional four feet over the standard 14 feet.  With the backhoe completely extended the top of the boom is around 18 feet above ground.  In this configuration the lifting capacity of the backhoe is easily several thousand pounds. 

While I do not own one I have logged many hrs on a 580K and L and never was fond of the extenda hoe on them because it seriously limits lift when extended. As I recall even 2000 lbs is pushing it exteneded. Case used to make a 680 and 780 and they were beasts.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KD8Z
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Posts: 169




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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 04:51:20 PM »

Not everyone has a friend with a pole setting truck.  I have set and remove similar poles for HAM friends for nothing or for a hamburger on the grill when we finished.

Dick  AD4U

Howdy Dick, you are cordially invited to a full spread Ribeye  dinner at my place, my good old friend that I have never met yet.  please bring along your Case 580a,b,c,d, ETC. with you for an expert wash and wax along with a full tank and new windshield wiper blades and a LOF!

see you soon
73
KD8Z Dale
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W2RWJ
Member

Posts: 184




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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 05:13:20 PM »

Folks,
Thanks for the various hints - Sorry for not providing the full details:

The poles are intended as private utility poles for an electrical service.  I need to install a  200A, 120/208 3Ø service over a 300+ run (over a public road and a parallel road with a minor change of direction and terrain slope)

I have prices on moleing the feed in underground and would like to verify which is cheaper. (underground vs. aerial)

73 Martin Flynn
W2RWJ
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KC4MOP
Member

Posts: 741




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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 06:10:05 PM »

Just my 2 1/2 cents worth.
I do not recommend this approach either for using a utility pole in place of a good ole radio tower. I did not need an engineering study or permission to do this, but to maintain anything on top is $450.00 / 4 hrs rental of a crane truck. The guys in the bucket were very helpful and understood mounting and connecting coax cables.
I contacted a reputable electrical contractor to purchase and install a 70 foot pole. They are called high voltage poles here in Pa. Total cost of pole and hole and install and mount my aerial was $7,500.00.
Now your typical 50 foot pole would be much cheaper.
We used the local electrical utility to sink a 50 footer for our wireless network to control Gas flow in our service area, around $2500. Pole + dig hole + mount our antenna and run coax down pole.
Burying your electrical service might be cheaper. I guess they run PVC pipe and run your typical service cable through??? 5 feet down???
Fred
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AD4U
Member

Posts: 2166




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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 07:17:19 PM »

While this is not the best or the safest way, I installed and removed several myself with a backhoe.  My Case 580K backhoe has what they call an "extend-a-hoe", which allows the "digging end" to be hydraulically extended an additional four feet over the standard 14 feet.  With the backhoe completely extended the top of the boom is around 18 feet above ground.  In this configuration the lifting capacity of the backhoe is easily several thousand pounds.  

While I do not own one I have logged many hrs on a 580K and L and never was fond of the extenda hoe on them because it seriously limits lift when extended. As I recall even 2000 lbs is pushing it exteneded. Case used to make a 680 and 780 and they were beasts.


From page 37 of the owners manual of my Case 580K backhoe with extend-a-hoe extended the full length and the first section of digging boom "fixed" at a 65 degree angle:

Lifting capacity at ground level = 3190 pounds

Lifting capacity at 17 feet above ground = 2230 pounds

According to the owners manual these lifting capacities are only 87% of actual machine capacity for safety reasons.

Before lifting anything with a backhoe or a crane, determine how much it weighs and compare the weight to the lifting charts.

Dick  AD4U
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 07:53:18 PM by AD4U » Logged
N4CR
Member

Posts: 1668




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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 11:33:31 PM »

Before lifting anything with a backhoe or a crane, determine how much it weighs and compare the weight to the lifting charts.

And none of the manuals will mention that you can add weight to the front by filling the bucket first if you have one.
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73 de N4CR, Phil

We are Coulomb of Borg. Resistance is futile. Voltage, on the other hand, has potential.
W6RMK
Member

Posts: 651




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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 10:25:20 PM »

In Southern California, about 15 years ago (and I suspect it hasn't really changed), you could call the temporary fixtures folks  (like Andy Gump) who supply fencing, porta-potties, etc. One of the things they do is install temporary electrical services, which can be anything from 4x4" posts to full on utility poles.  While their primary business is rentals and temporary installs, they can do a permanent install, subject to permitting, etc., and are happy to sell you old inventory (i.e. used poles).

Aside from that, it's the "case of beverage" or "spare cash to the foreman" approach, but that requires knowing someone, being in the right place at the right time, etc. And these days, everyone is worried about liability. I know someone who got some poles from the local cable TV company when they pulled out their training poles and put new ones in, but the poles were cut into short lengths (i.e. they worked fine as planter boundaries and the like, but you couldn't use them as a "pole")

you will generally NOT be able to get used poles from the utility company.. They're too worried about liability and things.  AFter all, they're pulling the pole because it's reached end of life or is unsafe, and the last they want is your widow and heirs suing them because that pole failed.  Or, because the creosote or arsenic leached out. Or, because you used it in a bonfire and triggered an asthma attack. Or, PCBs leaked from the pole transformer into the pole,  etc.etc.etc.  yes, these are all unlikely, but from their standpoint, the time to deal with the potential downside risk is vastly more expensive than shredding and disposing of them as hazmat.


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AA4HA
Member

Posts: 1451




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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2013, 02:32:45 AM »

I contacted a reputable electrical contractor to purchase and install a 70 foot pole. They are called high voltage poles here in Pa. Total cost of pole and hole and install and mount my aerial was $7,500.00.
Now your typical 50 foot pole would be much cheaper.
We used the local electrical utility to sink a 50 footer for our wireless network to control Gas flow in our service area, around $2500. Pole + dig hole + mount our antenna and run coax down pole.

This is on par with what it cost to have a 75' Class II pole set this last summer on a project I was working on (~$1000 materials, ~$3500 install crew and equipment). The labor was only to auger a hole 10' deep (4' + 10% of pole height) and set it in place and to backfill and tamp down. We had to do all of the antenna and feedline attachment before the pole was slinged and raised to height.

There is a 9 dB 900 MHz omni attached to a 10' long 2" aluminum mast that is attached to the pole with three standoff kits. LDF4-50A Heliax, lightning rod, #6 AWG ground wire, 25' of #6 at the base of the pole in a butt-wrap and three 10' ground rods with #6 back to the base of the pole. It took four people to prep the pole (working hard and fast) while a different crew bored the hole and set it.

It is a wonderful looking installation. Here are some photographs;

http://www.picpaste.com/8cc9e8caa17eca210acc3728e6eef0eb.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/ce7c7d9e7678894e7aee9dd2d2af1d93.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/1408f1cb66c61e87eb9a409cea49f7bd.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/9d233c205a6550f7f2f49c7176fe18fd.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/ddceead546f534a32cace54a531793c8.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/564de72e17bd73ed79eed7ba770c7fe8.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/6fa3c7cc2a157421d61521b505a05d6b.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/e70d22bb4c7e713544c1de75881c79f3.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/2b3946764003ba18bd302b8704f44980.jpg  (notice how the three ground rods are 120 degrees around the pole, separated by the length of each ground rod)
http://www.picpaste.com/4733dd1acb0532ce7d9575f65a26a3a1.jpg (innovative use of an air hammer to drive those 10' ground rods)
http://www.picpaste.com/4f9401d67d11e5b8656b4fcab295e95e.jpg (bonding ground rods to base of pole, installing test wells over each rod end)
http://www.picpaste.com/b016d194854d23666024a55c60a537cc.jpg
http://www.picpaste.com/47645adfb1315d681eee0616471399bf.jpg (electrical service weatherhead to bring Heliax into building in conduit)

We had 4 electrical contractors to do the antenna prep work and 6 people to set the pole (must of been a slow day at their office or something). We started working at 9 am and were finished by 2 pm. There was allot going on at once but it was a very professionally installed setup. Amateurs could do the pole prep-work if it is delivered a few days in advance and the install crew could of probably been 2 people for setting the pole. The grounding and bonding could of been done later by amateurs.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 02:37:02 AM by AA4HA » Logged

Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KC4MOP
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Posts: 741




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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 03:25:34 AM »

AA4HA,,,,,we must be of the same ilk. The power company guys did everything as your contractor. Once they caught on to what we wanted. We were building a wireless network called SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) Using a product called Bristol. They developed software that would work over a radio system to let Gas Control adjust flow of gas through the system and odorize the natural gas for distribution. We used the MDS radios and eventually converted to a completely digital system.
I still see around my recent QTH 70 foot poles with a 30 foot mast and a lone Yagi reaching for a signal near power company substations in Pa.
Sorry to go off topic. But this SCADA project was the most fun ever in my career. I had  RF software to help us determine if we could get into different areas with the SCADA signal. FCC only allowed 10W for the master station and 5W for the slave radios. We would buy 3 inch dia coax and the highest gain stick allowed for the master station. We rented space on some towers, always tried to be on the top. But the rent is higher!! This was to overcome the losses at 950mhz.
Fred
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