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State Highway Pole-Relocation and Safety Improvement Program

Puget Sound Energy reliability project

 

2017 project updates

  • In 2017, PSE plans to relocate dozens of poles along State Route 534 in Skagit County. Design work and easement acquisition has begun for 2018 scheduled work on State Route 544 in Whatcom County.
  • PSE continues to work with WSDOT to determine the most feasible ways to improve safety and decrease the possibility of cars coming into contact with power poles.
  • In 2016, PSE completed dozens of pole relocations on State Routes 542 in Whatcom County, 20 in Island County and 507 in Thurston County.

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 Transportation website for more information about WSDOT’s control zone requirements.