State Highway Pole-Relocation and Safety Improvement Program

Puget Sound Energy reliability project

Spring 2013 project updates

  • In winter 2013, surveys began along the 800 miles of state highway inside the eight counties where PSE provides electric service to determine how many of PSE’s poles must be relocated to meet updated standards. The survey work is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
  • As of June 2013, the following highways have been or are being surveyed:
    • State Route (SR) 121– Thurston County
    • SR 507 - Thurston County
    • SR 162 - Pierce County
    • SR 165 - Pierce County
    • SR 525 – Island County
    • SR 20 - Island County
    • SR 534 - Skagit county
    • Interstate 90 – Kittitas county
    • US 97 – Kittitas County
    • SR 10 – Kittitas County
  • Multiple Hit Poles: In addition to the control zone pole relocation program, PSE is working on plans to address approximately 34 poles that have been hit by cars two or more times. In most cases, we will be moving these poles farther away from the road to decrease the likelihood of car-pole incidents. Our goal is to start construction on these pole relocation projects in mid to late 2013.

    Project overview

    Puget Sound Energy is working to improve public safety as well as to protect the integrity of its electrical infrastructure by relocating power poles farther off of state roadways. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has established the highway “control zone” (which is determined by the speed limit, traffic volume and contour of the shoulder) to enhance traffic safety. Per this WSDOT standard, the control zone should be free of obstructions to decrease the likelihood of cars coming into contact with objects adjacent to the roadway. PSE’s pole-relocation initiative is intended to bring poles into compliance with WSDOT’s control zone standard, and further decrease the possibility of cars coming into contact with power poles.

    PSE estimates as part of this public-safety initiative, the utility will relocate between 5,000 and 7,000 of its 14,000 poles currently located along state highways. Under a 2012 agreement between PSE and WSDOT, PSE has set a target of 10 years to relocate all of its power poles outside the control zone, or find an alternate mitigation approach approved by WSDOT.

    Stretches of highway that have experienced the most accidents involving power poles are expected to have first priority for relocation. We will provide more details on scope, timing and prioritization planning as soon as we have them. Visit the Washington State Department of Transportaion website for more information about WSDOT’s control zone requirements.

    Committed to keeping you informed

    PSE will continue to provide updates to the community. We will notify residents and businesses near the project area when construction will occur. We aim to complete the work with as little disruption as possible.

    Contact us

    For more information on this program, or for information specific to your location, contact Project Manager, Aaron Drake at or 425-457-5772.