Recently, INTREN’s Midwest overhead crews safely removed 120 utility poles over a 4.5-mile stretch in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve in Lockport Township. The utility poles were removed to enable the utility company easy access to the newly located poles so as not to disturb the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly Habitat located in the preserve.
The original project plan from the utility customer detailed removing all the poles by helicopter to limit intrusion to the endangered dragonfly habitat. Upon further review of the original plan, the INTREN overhead management team suggested a revised plan to also utilize rail equipment to limit ground exposure in the sensitive habitat, to increase overall efficiency and to reduce project duration to meet permit constraints. The customer approved the revised plan and INTREN crews implemented it. Leading the project for INTREN were Assistant Project Manager Ryan Kasten, General Foreman Aaron Dyer and Senior Project Manager Bill Nightingale.
Of the 120 utility poles to be removed, three quarters of the poles were removed by Hy-Rail equipment (equipment mounted on the tracks), while the remaining poles were removed by helicopter. For the utility pole locations not reachable by rail, INTREN crews accessed them on foot -- via environmentally friendly paths to avoid sensitive rivulet areas -- in order to climb the poles to install conductor dolly blocks and remove the existing wire. The poles will be cut at ground level so as not to disturb the rare dolomite prairie habitat located in the preserve.
Crews transported the removed poles to an area outside of the environmentally protected area, where they were stripped down and chopped for recycling, lessening the impact to the environment.