Crews use helicopters to modify transmission structures
Motorists on U.S. Highway 41 urged to focus on road
DE PERE, Wis. – Crews from MJ Electric are using helicopters to modify transmission line structures north of Green Bay over the next few days, and American Transmission Co. is cautioning motorists to keep their eyes on the road to ensure public safety.
The crews have become much more visible as the work progresses south on the line along U.S. Highway 41 in northern Brown County.
“We are working with the Department of Transportation and local law enforcement to keep the crews and the traveling public safe,” said Dustin Johanek, ATC project manager. “While it is interesting to watch this work being performed, we urge drivers to focus on the road and not the helicopter overhead.”
Crews began work on the project in mid-July and have become increasingly efficient, completing modifications of up to 24 structures a day. The project has been hindered somewhat by the hot weather; increased demand on the transmission system has made it difficult to take the line out of service to perform the work.
“It’s quite intense work,” explained Johanek. “Two five-member crews are placing ‘peaks’ atop the transmission towers to prepare for stringing fiber-optic cable later this year. The helicopter transports both crews and their tools to two adjacent structures, where they make preparations to attach the peaks. The crew then uses the helicopter to lift the peaks into place for each tower. By the time the second peak is secured, the first crew is nearly complete. They leap-frog over to the next structure in line and the sequence begins again.”
By replacing the 85-year-old lightning shield wire, the fiber-optic cable will increase communication capability in the ATC data network, creating a more connected “smart grid” to enhance reliability and system awareness for operators.