There are usually many factors that impact on the selection of the structure type for use in an OHTL. Some of the more significant are briefly identified below.
Erection Technique: It is obvious that different structure types require different erection techniques. As an example, steel lattice towers consist of hundreds of individual members that must be bolted together, assembled, and erected onto the four previously installed foundations.
A tapered steel pole, on the other hand, is likely to be produced in a single piece and erected directly on its previously installed foundation in one hoist. The lattice tower requires a large amount of labor to accomplish the considerable number of bolted joints, whereas the pole requires the installation of a few nuts applied to the foundation anchor bolts plus a few to install the crossarms.
The steel pole requires a large-capacity crane with a high reach which would probably not be needed for the tower. Therefore, labor needs to be balanced against the need for large, special equipment and the site’s accessibility for such equipment.
Public Concerns: Probably the most difficult factors to deal with arise as a result of the concerns of the general public living, working, or coming in proximity to the line. It is common practice to hold public hearings as part of the approval process for a new line.
Such public hearings offer a platform for neighbors to express individual concerns that generally must be satisfactorily addressed before the required permit will be issued. A few comments demonstrate this problem.
The general public usually perceives transmission structures as ‘‘eyesores’’ and distractions in the local landscape. To combat this, an industry study was made in the late 1960s (Dreyfuss, 1968) sponsored by the Edison Electric Institute and accomplished by Henry Dreyfuss, the internationally recognized industrial designer.
While the guidelines did not overcome all the objections, they did provide a means of satisfying certain very highly controversial installations (Pohlman and Harris, 1971). Parents of small children and safety engineers often raise the issue of lattice masts, towers, and guys, constituting an ‘‘attractive challenge’’ to determined climbers, particularly youngsters.
Inspection, Assessment, and Maintenance: Depending on the owning utility, it is likely their in-house practices will influence the selection of the structure type for use in a specific line location. Inspections and assessment are usually made by human inspectors who use diagnostic technologies to augment their personal senses of sight and touch.
The nature and location of the symptoms of critical interest are such that they can be most effectively examined from specific perspectives. Inspectors must work from the most advantageous location when making inspections.
Methods can include observations from ground or fly-by patrol, climbing, bucket trucks, or helicopters. Likewise, there are certain maintenance activities that are known or believed to be required for particular structure types.
The equipment necessary to maintain the structure should be taken into consideration during the structure type selection process to assure there will be no unexpected conflict between maintenance needs and r-o-w restrictions.