Outside line crews re-tension a 115 kv line in Napa Valley
The Silverado Trail may sound like a quaint dirt path, and when it was first constructed during the California Gold Rush, that’s indeed what it was. But over the decades, the traffic on the Trail has increased, and now it’s one of the busiest roads in Wine Country. With lovely vineyard vistas and more than 40 different wineries on the road between Napa to Calistoga, the Silverado Trail is anything but dusty these days.
Drivers are accustomed to zipping up and down the windy road, and there’s always a chance some of them may have had a bit too much to drink at the last winery, which meant that the IBEW 1245 outside construction crews working on the Trail needed to be extra cautious.
“There’s a lot of traffic,” said Brandon Breeden, an eight-year member of IBEW 1245 and a lineman with Wilson Construction. “It’s a tight road, and everybody’s going fast.”
Breeden and his team were tasked with re-tensioning part of the Fulton-Pueblo 115kv line where the sag was too high, and the oncoming traffic wasn’t the only tricky element to this job. The crew was working with an energizes distro and steel poles, which can be hazardous if not handled correctly.
“Bringing a steel pole up through a hot 21kv presents a new challenge, because it’s essentially a direct ground,” Breeden explained. “It’s more dangerous than a wood pole, because a wood pole is somewhat insulated.”
Photos by John Storey