Hydro One has completed more than half of the pole and arm replacements scheduled on its 230 kV wood pole transmission structures in Northwestern Ontario for this year.
Forty Hydro One workers, with the help of about 15 apprentices, replaced poles and arms on 176 structures on the 230-kV power line from Atikokan to Manitoba. An additional 120 wood pole structures located between Kenora, Dryden and Fort Frances are also scheduled for replacement later this year. Hydro One will invest approximately $10 million this year on the upgrades. This investment is just a portion of the replacements planned in Northwestern Ontario over the next five years.
"This project is part of an ongoing program to continually assess the condition of our power system and make significant upgrades to improve overall reliability," said Carmine Marcello, VP, Asset Management, Hydro One. "This work is a reflection of Hydro One's proactive approach to monitoring and improving the transmission system in the Province."
For this project, a new technique is being used to determine if replacement of the structure is necessary. Each pole is tested by drilling into an arm on the structure from a helicopter. A helicopter equipped with an Airstair, a framework that attaches to the undercarriage of the helicopter and allows for safe access to the transmission lines, is used to test and replace poles.
Work on the line from Atikokan to Manitoba started on January 26, 2009 and finished on March 9, 2009. Across the province, approximately $254 million is invested annually into replacing 115- and 230-kV wood pole power line structures. Two Ontario-based companies are supplying the wood poles and steel arms for this project.