When Valmont Utility joined AEP Transmission and POWER Engineers to design utility transmission structures on either side of the interstate in Canton, Ohio, they didn’t plan on creating a one-of-a-kind iconic landmark. But that’s exactly what they did.
The two yellow, 80-foot-tall goal posts are hard to miss and now remind drivers that Canton is home to the National Football League’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. These goal posts aren’t just decorative, they have a purpose. They serve as transmission structures that supply power to the people who visit and live in the city.
On one side of Interstate 77 lies Canton’s Stadium Park and Mercy Medical Center and on the other side, the Hall of Fame. The original intent was to connect a power line across the interstate to power much of the city, including a $500 million Hall of Fame expansion. The structures were to be simple and unobtrusive – something Valmont Utility has accomplished many times.
During the process, however, the team began discussing ideas that would pay tribute to the location and give prominence to the area. It was at that point Senior Professional Engineer Marty Kopplin of Valmont Utility suggested making the transmission structures look like modern-day NFL goal posts. And as great minds think alike, POWER Engineers’ ideation was the same.
“At first we thought it would be impossible,” says Shannon Eggert, Valmont Utility Director of Product Management, “but pretty soon everyone on the team was putting their heads together to figure out how we could actually pull it off.”
“We have an excellent long-standing relationship with both AEP and POWER,” Eggert explains, “so there was already an established level of trust there, and we work together extremely well. We could incorporate tried-and-true processes from previous projects and originate new creative ideas to make this project work.”
Within Valmont, the core team of drafters, engineers, marketers and account managers worked together to construct the project design. Then, they utilized the resources available through other Valmont divisions to manufacture the structures themselves.
“We wanted them to be football-themed structures that are unique,” says Kopplin, “but we also needed to manage electrical clearance requirements, and of course they had to be structurally sound.”
With Valmont being a large, diversified company, its divisional areas of expertise became a stronghold to accomplishing functional structures of this magnitude. Leaning on support from each of the Valmont divisions, plans included expertise from the areas of street and area lighting, traffic structures, welding and pipe bending, and even painting and coating. They took on the challenge of bending and welding the structure to match the curve of an NFL goal post, and the team matched NFL colors, coating the galvanized structures with fluorescent powder-coated yellow paint.
According to Joe Ulrich, Valmont Utility Strategic Account Manager, the project took only 19 weeks from conception to completion – an even more compressed timeline than they have for standard jobs.
“It was a collaborative effort between AEP, POWER, Valmont Utility, and the many other divisions of Valmont,” Ulrich says. “We’ve never been faced with many of these parameters before. There were some big hurdles, but we delivered in less time than usual making this an exciting project to see uprights as transmission structures.”
Kopplin adds, “It just shows the power of collaboration. Everyone was open and willing to work through all aspects of the project. The willingness of all parties to work together can’t be emphasized enough.”