The first barge brings construction equipment to the site. Photo: Jim Bellamy

Tacoma Power is replacing the electric towers that now stand in Henderson Bay at the Purdy Spit with a single steel pole. The towers, holding the lines that carry power to Tacoma from the Cushman Dam, have been in place since 1926. In addition, steel poles will replace the four towers on land.  

In-water construction setup began at the end of July, and the project is scheduled for completion in late September. Much of the work will be accomplished from several large barges in the water, with cranes for placing the new poles and removing the old towers. Crews will also install two temporary poles to hold the power lines away from the construction area. 

Tacoma Power has been planning the replacement since 2015. The utility worked with a number of agencies to identify the fish and wildlife that could be impacted by construction and set the timelines and approach to minimize the impact. 

“Working in a marine environment around a heavily traveled highway makes this a highly complex project,” said Tacoma Power Project Manager James Blessing. Opportunities to work will be largely influenced by tides. With construction work taking place next to the bridge, traffic slowdowns and possible lane closures on State Route 302 and Goodrich Drive are anticipated. Permitted working hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

“Our goal is to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible while minimizing impacts to the people who live, work and drive in this area,” Blessing said. “The biggest impact we anticipate is slow-moving traffic on SR-302 near the bridge. People driving may try to get a good look at what’s happening. We encourage drivers to keep their eyes on the road and be safe.” 

Peninsula Light Co. relies on the lines to serve its customers. Tacoma Power does not anticipate the project will impact electric service. 

“This is not a Peninsula Light project, but it will affect you,” said Jim Bellamy, energy services coordinator for PenLight and frequent contributor to KP News, at the July 20 Key Peninsula Business Association meeting in Key Center. 

“If you live near the Burley Lagoon, you may want some earplugs; the pile-driving portion of the work will be noisy,” Bellamy said. “But for most KP drivers, the biggest problem will come from gawkers.”

Magnum Power, from Castle Rock, Washington, will serve as the primary contractor for this high-voltage transmission line replacement project. A subcontractor that specializes in marine work, Advanced American Construction from Portland, Oregon, will install the large-pipe pile foundation for the new in-water transmission pole.

For more information about the project or to sign up to get updates by email can go to www.MyTPU.org/hendersonbay. 

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