From Chris Chandler
Central Lincoln PUD
The two wooden structures holding up Central Lincoln’s 69-kilovolt lines across Alsea Bay in Waldport are nearly 50 years old, and those years have not been kind.
“Those two structures have been worrying me for some time, said Central Lincoln’s Chief Engineer, Bruce Lovelin. “They’ve been deteriorating due to rough coastal weather, age, and sea salt. And, if either of them had come down in a storm, we would have had to scramble to keep the lights and heat on in the Waldport area.”
But replacement in water isn’t as simple as just pulling out one, and putting in another. “We were required to get permits from several state and federal agencies due to their concerns for aquatic species, and the application process took nearly three years. The permits require us to be finished by March 15—less than two weeks away. We’ve carefully planned every detail, and are very hopeful we’ll have decent weather,” Lovelin said.
What are currently two three-pole wooden structures will be replaced with two pairs of steel towers that will be only slightly higher than the old ones. “Guy” wires and anchors, and some old pilings will be removed as well. The new steel structures are expected to last 80 years, are designed to stand up to winds of 130 miles per hour, and won’t need guy wires or anchors. “We want customers in the Waldport area to know that at first, the new structures will stand out,” said Lovelin. “But after a few years, thanks to salt air and time, the steel structures will blend in much like the old wooden ones do now.”
With a barge, a crane, four steel towers, installation of tower holders called “caissons,” and wooden structure removal there will be much to see in the Alsea Bay area in March. “This is a great project, and we welcome our customers to watch every step,” Lovelin smiled. “But safety comes first, so we ask that folks please stay back a safe distance. This especially includes boats, canoes, and kayaks. We appreciate everyone respecting our safety boundaries.”