(08/15/2019)

By Forester Russ Richards

A single telephone pole on Route 16 in southern Calhoun County is more important than any other for keeping the lights on and phones running in the West Fork. The pole is working above and beyond the call of duty for any utility pole and should be in the "Utility Pole Hall of Fame". The wires on the right are from the main West Fork electric transmission line. The bottom wires are the phone cables that parallel Route 16 and the West Fork. The lines to the left provide electric and phone service to Rush Run on the other side of the West Fork. The weight of the transmission line is pulling the pole towards Route 16.

Daily changes in the temperature cause the bow in this telephone pole to fluctuate as the lines tighten and loosen in reaction to the changing temperatures. Anyone who has rounded this corner on a chilly morning recently has probably noticed that the curvature in the bow is more pronounced on a cold morning than the sunny, 90-degree afternoon this photo was taken. The pole is part of the main phone line than parallels Route 16 and the West Fork between Arnoldsburg and points south but it does not support just the phone cables.

The West Fork transmission line approaches the "super"
pole from the north by way of a ridge above Route 16

Rush Run residents to the west get their phone and electric through the wires supported by this same pole. The nearest Rush Run utility pole to the "super pole" is across the West Fork, over 500 feet away.

The weight this single pole supports would be difficult to calculate but the bow in the pole indicates that the weight must be tremendous. Supports and guy wires have been set for the pole but drilling holes through the pole to secure the guy wires has resulted in an uneven bow with a pronounced kink often visible on colder days. Considering a replacement of the pole by the utility companies using it may be a worthwhile ounce of prevention and far cheaper than dealing with the mess when it finally gives up the ghost and collapses onto Route 16, especially as school buses are about to begin their early morning runs up and down the West Fork.


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