Energy Company Takes to the Sky to Move Utility Poles

Caiman Energy has found a novel way of moving large steel utility poles (electric poles) that it needs to install to bring in more power to a natural gas processing plant located at Fort Beeler near Cameron (Marshall County), WV. To address concerns over truck traffic and damage to roads, Caiman is using helicopters to shuttle the utility poles.

The helicopters began making runs Sunday, and…the work will be completed by the end of this week, weather permitting. By transferring the materials in this way, the company hopes to alleviate truck traffic and prevent damage to the main roadway on U.S. 250 and other surface roads.

Marshall County Sheriff John Gruzinskas said his office has had no complaints or problems thus far and did not expect to, as Caiman must follow strict regulations in transporting the poles. Those restrictions include not being able to fly over residential areas or moving traffic.

"They have a pretty straight-forward flight path they follow every trip," Gruzinskas said.

Caiman has also hired their own security to handle traffic control issues, which eliminates the need for extra or dedicated patrol in those areas, Gruzinskas said. Additionally, flaggers are stationed along 12th Street in Moundsville, temporarily halting traffic for less than a minute each time a helicopter flies over the area.*

*The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (Nov 10, 2011) – Helicopters Haul Huge Poles