Prior to 1971, retired Division Manager of Engineering for Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), Dan Jackman, stated that round, painted poles were the utility pole of choice in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1970 OPPD collaborated with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a local steel fabrication facility to design and test a new octagonal transmission pole. According to the manufacturer's Sr. Utility Project Engineer, his plant was the most logical choice for pioneering this project, since they had recently installed a large brake press specifically for the purpose of manufacturing large sections of utility poles. Time proved that round, painted utility poles did not withstand Nebraska's beautiful, but often harsh seasonal changes. Therefore, this newly designed trial pole was specified to be hot-dip galvanized to provide a cost effective and high quality coating to ensure the large exposed structure would have long lasting corrosion protection. Not only does the manufacturer agree that hot-dip galvanizing is the best choice for long lasting corrosion protection, but a galvanized coating also supports service life improvement for the many diverse utility structures and products his company manufactures around the world.
OPPD was the first customer to purchase octagonal poles manufactured and galvanized from this location. Today, as a result of this pole's superior design legacy and proven corrosion protection, the utility industry as a whole, now commonly uses 12 and 16 sided hot-dipped galvanized utility poles as their standard. OPPD erected this one-hundred and twenty foot tall galvanized octagonal electric transmission pole in 1971. It was designed to handle 161 kilovolt conductor cables plus one half inch of ice and endure punishing winds of 40 pounds per square foot on the cables and pole. Its vintage silhouette is the only one of its kind in the area, and after more than four decades of service it stands as strong today as it did when it was put into commission 44 years ago. This giant of the plains will faithfully continue to support Metro Omahas energy needs well into the future.
According to OPPD's original engineering manager of this project, the objectives of this trial have been met. This original test transmission pole has proven throughout the years that it has out-performed its round, painted predecessors by its continuous steady service, but more importantly by simply possessing a superior octagonal design fortified by the application of hot-dipped galvanizing. As it continues to serve its community, we are satisfied to know this pole played an important part in the evolution of utility pole design which is now evident as the industry standard through the common use of 12 and 16 sided galvanized utility poles existing around the world today.
AGA Excellence in Hot Dip Galvanizing Lifetime Achievement Award Submission