Anoka to contract out utility pole replacement

Anoka’s electric utility department will contract out for the replacement of 100 power poles in the city this summer.

The Anoka City Council approved a bid from M.J. Electric to replace 100 poles in the city’s service area at a cost of $232,014.

According to Dan Voss, director for the city’s electric department, contracting out the work will speed up the replacement of problem poles identified in a 2010 study.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver questioned the economy of outsourcing the pole replacement. While the city will provide the replacement poles, under the contract M.J. Electric will provide the labor for the replacement as well as the hardware needed to make the transfer to the new poles.

Until now, city workers have been replacing poles in-house, but have only been able to complete 50 due to a busy schedule.

At that rate, said Voss, it would take four or five years to get the job done. The contract includes the cost of disposing of the poles, he said.

The 2010 study identified 194 poles as rejected, meaning they have lost 75 to 100 percent of their strength, said Voss. Those poles were posted “do not climb” to alert utility workers.

If all goes well, Voss said the utility will consider contracting again to finish replacing the remaining 50 poles.

He said this was the first time in his 30-year history with the city’s electric utility that the city’s 4,000 poles have gone through an inspection process.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]