The public utility is now picking up with multiple projects that crews were forced to leave on the table in the wake of the late-April tornadoes and the complicated, and dangerous, restoration of one-fourth of its crippled electric distribution system.
“Work around our system is returning to normal after the tornadoes [three months ago],” CU Electric Division Manager Dennis Daniel said in a recent monthly session of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.
One such project is the rebuilding of a transmission line along Georgetown and Peerless roads from 20th Street N.E. to the CU Burlington Substation located adjacent to the M&M Mars Chocolate plant, Daniel cited.
“We were in the process of replacing the old wooden poles, changing out all the pole hardware and replacing the ... wire when the storms struck,” the longtime CU electric leader noted.
When the five waves of tornadoes plowed through Bradley County, they took with them 30 transmission poles. Replacing that many 75- and 80-foot poles simultaneously is virtually impossible because of the delivery time required by suppliers, Daniel explained.
“However, luckily for us, we were able to divert those items earmarked for the Peerless Road job to the storm-damaged areas,” he said. “Delivery on some of the [new] items could have been several weeks, which would have left the system crippled until we received that material.”
In layman’s terms, it was — out of necessity — a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” but in this case Paul’s needs were much more urgent and Cleveland Utilities crews had already accepted that many of their existing projects (such as Peter’s) would be put on hold for the sake of storm recovery and electric grid restoration.
Cleveland Utilities has now received, evaluated and awarded bids for the 30 new replacement steel poles that had originally been intended for the Peerless Road and Georgetown Road project. CU awarded the bid to Trans America Power Products of Houston, Texas, for $88,346.
The poles will be pre-drilled for CU’s insulator specification and framing. An Oct. 1 delivery date is expected which will allow Electric Division crews to restart the Peerless Road project with a hoped-for completion prior to colder winter weather, Daniel said.
In another Electric Division project, Daniel pointed out his staff is working with contractors of the new development on Paul Huff Parkway between Peerless Road and Mouse Creek Road (Mouse Creek Crossing).
“According to their plans, the development will initially have one building with two larger businesses, one at each end, and eight smaller shops in the center,” Daniel said. “We have already been working with the electrical contractor determining the location of electrical facilities and conduit installation.”
Daniel said the larger businesses in the first building will be Buffalo Wild Wings and Dunkin’ Donuts. Although it was not mentioned in Daniel’s report, other businesses expected to locate at the development include a battery business, a yogurt shop and a fitness center.
In other Electric Division reports by the manager:
- An upgrade of the electric facilities serving Flowers Bakery at 1335 South Church St. is being planned.
- The utility is now working with Cleveland State Community College’s new business incubator on Adkisson Drive that will contain eight bays that can be leased by new business owners. He said CU is now developing plans to serve the new building with electrical power.
- Plans are moving forward by CU to provide power to the new development (Holiday Inn Express) on Paul Huff Parkway near Ellis Circle. He said he is unaware of other planned businesses; however, several out-parcels are available.
- CU also has provided a $9,021 cost estimate to relocate an existing 55-foot breakaway street lighting pole to make way for a new entrance into property being used to develop the Mouse Creek Crossing complex.
- Two LED streetlights have now been installed on Raider Drive for evaluation. The single lighting fixture from Cooper Electric and Global Green will be evaluated for six months “... to determine which fixture would best meet our needs for street lighting,” Daniel explained. “We will be measuring the light output, pattern of the light, quality of the fixture and price in our evaluation.” He added, “According to the manufacturers, the life expectancy of the LEDs versus the type bulbs that are used in the fixtures we now install will probably cost-justify the added cost of the new lights.”
- LED lighting being considered for a new section of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway is expected to save Cleveland Utilities and the city of Cleveland approximately $30,000. This is because their wide variance in voltages, and the fact that the fixtures will be able to automatically regulate and operate normally over long distances between feeds, will make it possible for fewer transformers and services to be used in their installation.