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Steel power towers resist wicked weather

Published 5:37pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Residents who walk along the St. Joseph River notice large power-line tower pieces piled up near the boat ramp upstream above the French Paper dam.

They are part of Indiana Michigan Power’s $25 million project to replace 60-year-old wooden power poles with solid steel.

Reconstruction of the 6.5-mile route between Niles and Buchanan is about half done, Marta Elliott, I&M community relations representative, said Tuesday.

The Niles area is a piece of a project that encompasses eight miles between Schoolcraft and Moorepark and 14 miles between Three Rivers and Sturgis.

About 575 poles and 29.25 miles of new power lines will be installed for the project, which will spill over into 2013.

Residents should also see fewer power outages due to the poles’ resistance to high winds and lightning strikes.

“It should improve reliability substantially,” Elliott said. “They are sturdier and not nearly as inclined to break during inclement weather. This particular area, especially Three Rivers, has seen more outages than any other I&M district.”

Poles will be positioned higher in the air, making them less susceptible to tree damage.

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