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State Highway Pole-Relocation and Safety Improvement Program

Puget Sound Energy reliability project


Spring 2015 project updates

  • PSE is currently having surveys performed along roughly 690 miles of state highway inside the eight counties where we provide electric service. The purpose of the surveys is to determine how many of PSE’s poles require further evaluation to meet updated WSDOT control zone safety standards. The survey work is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2015.
  • As of May 2014 approximately 201 miles (34%) of state highway have been surveyed and PSE is developing mitigation plans to address these areas.
  • Multiple Hit Poles: In addition to the control zone pole relocation program, PSE is actively working to address approximately 12 pole sites 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 mitigate these pole sites in 2014.

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.