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The Pole in the Cemetery

Shortly after I became the Senior Lineman on the Transmission Line Maintenance Crew, we had to replace a pole that was in the middle of a community cemetery.

How a power pole landed in the middle of the cemetery I would like to know. It was a 115kv line that we could not get out with two underbuilt distribution feeders.

   In order to get to the pole with a vehicle we had to drive over graves. I arranged for distribution to go in and out rig their circuits so we could set the new pole. We had 4' x 8' hard plastic pads to lay down to drive over. Unfortunately, there were not enough pads to go the whole distance, so we had to leapfrog the pads. When the second distribution bucket came out, they decided to take a chance and not move the pads. Yep, almost out and the rear wheels collapsed a grave. That was not a good afternoon for me as I had to fill out an online "event " report which went out to the entire company.

  We took the line truck in to dig the hole and set the pole, there were issues positioning the truck due to the gravestones. Finally, I made the executive decision to put two of the pads on top of a flat grave marker then place the outrigger on it. As soon as the weight of the truck went down, I heard the marker break. Boom, $500.00.

  We were able to change out the pole hot and replace the marker. The collapsed grave was not that big a deal, the cemetery folks had dirt on site. They told us it happened from time to time so just fill up the hole and seed it.

  However, I heard about this event for years from people all over the company.

Dick Weaver – Retired Lineman

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