LAMPASAS — After a large 18-wheeler commercial truck took out around eight utility poles two weeks ago in an accident along State Highway 183, city officials said they experienced what a major power outage could look like if out-of-date poles were not repaired.
The truck knocked out power for several blocks south of Sixth Street. The outage occurred because the truck hit a low hanging cable line, City Manager Finley DeGraffenried said.
“We had eight poles that needed to be replaced, and we had poles that held up fine, but then on the other side of them further away from the incident, we had pole failures ... so you can see this one pole, obviously, had better structural integrity than the one that was farther away from the event,” he said, explaining the poles’ varying conditions were evident.
At the City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, officials decided unanimously to spend more than $100,000 to fix 90 dilapidated electric poles in the city, inspect and treat 600 poles and collect data for an additional 300 poles.
Osmose Utilities Service, a company that specializes in telecommunication equipment inspections, will be performing the repairs and maintenance upgrades. Officials will be working over the next four years to update the city’s electrical infrastructure, said Phil Andreas, the city’s public works director.
“A large majority of our poles are in a 20- to 40-year range,” he said.
Andreas said that depending on soil condition and maintenance, the poles can last 40 to 80 years, but Lampasas has largely not kept up with treatment or maintenance in the last 40 years because of staff size and budgetary constraints.
Pole replacement can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, Andreas said.
Once a project start date is agreed upon, pole inspection and repair should take around four weeks, a city document said.