Tag Archives: power pole

Power pole along old Wheaton awfully close to driveway

The in basket: Pete Wimmer of Silverdale e-mailed to say, “A couple of weeks ago, I went to dinner at RimNam Thai Cuisine on Wheaton Way and noticed that one of the power poles was placed in the new driveway or the new driveway was set around the pole.

“No matter which came first, this seems to be an accident waiting to happen,” he said. “Can you find out if it is in specifications and if they are going to add more markings to the pole to warn drivers?”
The out basket: This is part of the improvements to Old Wheaton Way that widened the water-side sidewalk. There are three short power poles fairly close to the curb cuts that denote future driveways near the Thai restaurant (the former Bay Bowl) and it does seem that the pole closest to the business’ front door could pose a collision hazard to a careless driver turning right into the restaurant’s driveway without slowing down enough.

It’s not in the driveway, just right beside it.

Tom Knuckey of the city’s engineering staff says,  “After looking into this, we’ve concluded that while the location of the power pole is not ideal, it will need to remain where it is.

“The issue is that alternatives for locating the pole were constrained by the wire span and pole height which limited our options during construction, and while the pole would ideally have been sited away from the driveway approach wing, it is OK to have it in the right-of-way at that location.

“If the adjacent business contacts us to request revisions, we’ll likely look at providing a reflector of some sort on the pole,” he said.

Bucklin Hill power pole work not finished

The in basket: I took Bucklin Hill Road in Silverdale the other day just to check out the new power poles that were installed, closing that major thoroughfare to traffic for much of a recent week.

I noticed that each has an array of three arms at their tops with no wires suspended from them. Three lower arms carry the wires the smaller poles on each side of the new ones carry.

I wondered if Puget Sound Energy was planning way into the future or perhaps a power upgrade is coming.

The out basket: Akiko Oda of PSE says six more new poles are coming to Bucklin Hill Road in March, and they’ll match the poles installed during the closure. The three upper arms then will be put to use.

The remaining work will require closing only one lane, she said, with flaggers directing alternating traffic through the closure.

That still leaves a year of complete closure where Bucklin Hill Road crosses Clear Creek beginning this July. The recent closure served as a test of how drivers will adjust to that.

I stayed away from the area of the closure while it was happening, but the traffic between Highway 303 and Costco uphill from it didn’t seem much affected. Nor did I hear much of an outcry from drivers. What say you, readers?

Do owners of damaged roadside equipment seek compensation?

The in basket: Jack Johnson writes, “I would like to know the policy when an accident occurs which causes damage to property either of the state, city or county (i.e. guard rails, culverts, signs, etc.) Also when damage is done to utilities such as phone, power or water (i.e. phone pedestals, power poles and hydrants). I see them all the time working on repairs after accidents. If the driver does not have to pay, they should!”

The out basket: I checked with three of the entities about which Jack asked – Kitsap County, the state Department of Transportation and Puget Sound Energy.

All said they make a concerted effort to collect damages from drivers or others who damage their property.

“We work with our risk management team, and the responsible party and/or their insurance agency, much like everyone else does when an accident happens,” said Doug Bear of Kitsap County Public Works. “We are generally successful in recovering damages from the responsible party.”

Lisa Copeland of the state DOT said, “If we know who do did the damage, we bill them. We ask for compensation for damage to any of our state property plus wages for maintenance employees, incident response team and public information labor hours associated to the incident.”

Dorothy Bracken of Puget Sound Energy says her company goes to small claims court, if necessary. “We do pursue vigorously anyone who damages our equipment,” she said. “We work with the responding police agency and acquire the police report. We’ll pursue the owner of the car, but prefer to pursue the driver.

“We have one a day of these, vehicles striking our equipment, throughout our (multi-county) service area,” she said. “It’s the most  common type of damage on our electric system.”

Someone may be in for a large bill or insurance claim following Monday’s car/pole accident near Manchester that knocked power out for 12 hours in the area and required replacement of the pole. Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said a driver who had been sent home from work due to illness lost consciousness at the wheel and hit the pole in his truck. He wasn’t badly hurt, but between the costly pole and all the man hours for restoring the pole and traffic control, PSE and the county could be looking for thousands of dollars in compensation. The driver also may get a $550 ticket for negligent driving, Scott said.

As an aside, Dorothy  says broken mains from excavation are the most common type of damage on the natural gas side of the company. She said state law allows PSE to recover triple damages for such a mishap.

That assumes the offender didn’t call the “Call before you Dig” phone line to get the utilities in the area marked by paint on the ground or street, or did call but the maps the markers used were in error and didn’t show anything where the line was damaged.