Rock Solid Guys

Winter sure isn’t letting up, but we’re not stopping either! In this update you can see the various stages of installing rock bolts/anchors for guying the “messenger stand” that the fibre cables are attached to.

While the snow doesn’t help the crew move around, the frozen ground certainly enables moving heavy equipment to difficult places – places that would be difficult to access or easy to ruin the grass if we were doing the same work in the summer.

And do we ever have a lot of equipment and crews in the field right now! We’ve got several people from the telecom industry, and even from a nearby power company, plus our guys all working on something different today.

[Ed: Of course, there’s the saying in IT – we’re doing a good job if it doesn’t look like we’re doing anything 😉 ]

So what’s going on here? Glad you asked.

Putting up fibre optic cables isn’t just a matter of nailing them to the poles; turns out the optical cable is almost insignificant compared to all the preparation and support that goes into a project.

Along roadways we’re not using a self-supporting cable, which means it needs to be supported on something for it’s entire length. Typically this is done by first installing a tensioned steel strand (a thick wire) between the poles, and then lashing the cable it using smaller lashing wire spiralling around it.

Since the strand pulled taught, it needs to be “guyed” at it’s ends and at the poles as it goes around corners – these guys are marked with diagonal yellow sticks that you often see near many utility poles.

You can see our utility subcontractor (with a lot of heavy equipment) drilling and installing anchors around CCV – by far the most complex community we’ve had to work in, what with the solid rock, wood pecker damage, and very curvaceous roads; over 100 anchors and guys needing to be installed! We’ll be at it ’til April at this rate, but it is going well – albeit a bit slowly with the fresh snow.

Zach drilling through a utility pole.Once the anchors are in the ground, the mounting hardware needs to be, ahem, mounted in the pole. A large hole is drilled right through the pole, and a big 3/4″ bolt installed. On one side is a clamp to hold the messenger strand, and on the other is a hook to attach the down-guy. The down-guy is the same kind of wire as the messenger strand, and it’s looped through the anchor on the ground, then tensioned to counter-balance the eventual tension of the messenger strand, and finally secured with another 3-bolt clamp.

After all that, we can begin to put up the messenger strand and fibre… stay tuned for our next ‘blog post!