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How to set a utility pole (attach choker chain etc)

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by oceanobob, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. oceanobob

    oceanobob Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    general contractor
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    Greetings, hope the Holiday is treating all well. The usual battle with the folks who rather pilfer and steal than work for pay has caused a need to improve security lighting on the priority list.

    Will be setting a (new) 30' (thirty foot) utility pole into a five foot hole in a paved commercial parking lot. Pole goes inside a curbed landscape island thus no room for "digging the ramp into the hole and tipping the pole into the slotted hole using the pickup truck rack" method.

    But I have a reachfork and a jib attachment at this jobsite.

    As far as the choker: since the pole tapers, this has me wondering .... so I figured "better to ask". My choker chain has a open hook with no latch (also called a slip or choker hook?) which is quite good for grabbing a bundle of rebar. I also have some swaged loop steel cable chokers available.

    The goal is to lift the pole by picking at a hair above the CG and with the help of an assistant, lower the vertical pole nicely into the five foot deep hole.....plumb it and tamp the hole with some road base gravel.

    If this is an OK idea and the choker can be trusted not to slip along the somewhat tapered wood pole.....seems the chain will be easiest to release compared to the cable?

    Not my normal task, so I appreciate the assistance.

    Edit update: if I use the choker chain, should I change the slip hook to one of those forestry style choker chain open hooks?
     
  2. Don.S

    Don.S Well-Known Member

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    I always just use a chain with a open hook or shackle. You can always run a line down and attach it to the pole. That way it cant slide up and if it digs into the wood its easy to pull down.
     
  3. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    When setting poles, I usually choke the pole, then go another 2-3' up the pole, and put a half hitch around the pole. Choker will cinch tight on the half hitch, and the lower choker will hold the half hitch from sliding up.

    Tie a rope on the bottom hitch. After setting the pole, you can pull the choker to the bottom of the pole with the rope, after you slack off. No climbing pole to get the choker back.
     
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  4. djhutt

    djhutt Member

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    Choke it then a half hitch above the CG I lift many tapered flagpoles this way when set let loose and the chain will slide down
     
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  5. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    We use the dual line approach Crane Op described with the chokers.

    Bob you said you had a reach lift which I assume is a Lull type forklift? I think I remember seeing one in your pictures. If so that forklift will work fine.
     
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  6. oceanobob

    oceanobob Senior Member

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    Yes reachforklift on hand is 8042 square shooter sold under the Terex name (before it went to Genie). And a fork mounted jib attachment which will allow a one point for the rigging set up and keep the forks out of the way.

    Sounds like I could use my chain choker, put the weight on it to set the choke hold, then add a taught line from the choker hook to near the base of the pole (since the first five feet is going into the excavated hole) as insurance against slipping as the pole is upended.
    Then once set, the chain can be slacked and the taught line used to encourage the chain choke to slide down the pole.

    First concern was how to get the pole safely into the ground w/o slipping, then the second concern was how to un-rig.

    Once the pole is set, to complete the job we must run the conduit wire up the pole and add the bullhorn bracket and the lights .....we have a manbasket or we can also use the platform lift.

    Thanks!

    FYI Pole is coming next week from the local lumber yard. Twin bullhorn bracket is in stock at the electrical supply house, conduit for 277 already run to the outside of building.

    Am being quoted a pair of RAB, model ALED 360w w some options:
    On at dusk, off at dawn and goes to bright when motion detected, otherwise runs on lower power.
    360 watts makes about 30000 lumens. Prolly spend some good $ on this light but hoping it runs reliably and maintains lighting lumen power over time etc etc.

    Also considering wrapping the pole end to be buried with quasi pipe wrap bituminous to help prolong the life of the pole although it will be pressure treated But not sure what the treatment is and likely to be less than long life due to the environmental issues on such chemicals.
     
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  7. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    Absolutely no risk it'll slip unless your hook is too small. I have one 3/8 choker with very small choke hook, damned thing won't choke!
    Otherwise figure out the max height of your hoist, factor chain length, choke where you can set the butt in the hole, then wiggle it a bit to drop into hole.

    I would set it six feet deep.
     
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  8. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I agree 5ft. doesn't seem deep enough for a 30ft. pole.
     
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  9. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    Our crews would mount the lights and do all the top work while it is at ground level. Set it and all you need to do is connect at the ground. I would go a minimum of six feet and I would backfill with concrete to hold it. Lights add a lot of twisting wind load at times.

    EDIT We would double wrap with a nylon strap. A rope at the loop hanging down to the ground allows the choker to be pulled to ground level to unhook.
     
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  10. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    If setting in concrete uses something to protect the post from absorbing the water from the concrete and rotting.
     
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  11. dirty4fun

    dirty4fun Senior Member

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    The utility company uses a two part foam to set the poles. We were setting pole due a storm and had one to go when they arrived to put the power line back up that a tree had torn down. Got the pole plumb both ways, dumped in the foam in 5 minutes pole was set. The foam grabs the pole and helps keep it from rotting.
     
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  12. JBrady

    JBrady Well-Known Member

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    NE OK
    I have set many power poles when building barns. I do exactly what you are thinking, but I like to use a nylon strap instead of a chain. I use my skid steer with forks. If you pick the lift point correctly, you can go from horizontal on the ground to nearly 90 degrees (maybe 80 degrees). Lift it right over the hole, and lower away. Getting the strap or chain off after the pole is set can be a challenge, just use common sense if you chose to climb out on the boom.
     
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  13. JLarson

    JLarson Member

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    AZ
    We'll do the 2 wrap choker and 1/2 hitch method with some mule tape tied on for retrieval if we don't have a line crew setting with a pole truck.

    10% + 2' in good soil 10% + 4' in poor soil is rule of thumb for wood pole install for utilities.
     
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