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Flying high

A helicopter hoists a power pole into the air at the Glacier gravel pit. - Leslie Brown/staff photo
A helicopter hoists a power pole into the air at the Glacier gravel pit.
— image credit: Leslie Brown/staff photo

Puget Sound Energy’s sub-contractor Potelco brought in a helicopter last week to replace nine utility poles on the Island. The company used Glacier Northwest’s sand and gravel mine for its staging area, where a helicopter picked up the poles and ferried them to sites along the west side of the Island, all of which Potelco could not reach any other way.

Bob Queenin, a general foreman for Potelco, said the poles were taken to sites on Pohl Road, Luana Beach Road, Glen Acres Road, Bunker Trail and Cunliffe Road, where the existing poles were damaged by the powerful wind storm two years ago. One of the poles, he said, was completely missing, and the company has had to tie power lines to a tree.

The procedure required Puget Sound Energy to cut off power to 150 homes and evacuate residents at 10 homes. “You can’t fly over anyone with suspended loads,” Queenin said.

Only one person hadn’t gotten the letter telling him he had to leave and came out of his house when Potelco employees arrived on the scene to prepare for the operation. Queenin said he readily agreed to leave for a few hours after they explained the situation.

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