State Highway Pole-Relocation and Safety Improvement Program

Puget Sound Energy reliability project


Current projects in 2019

  • SR 9: Design work has begun and surveyors are inspecting the pole relocation route along SR 9 in Whatcom County.
  • SR 544: Construction start date is currently pending for phase two and three of this project.
  • SR 547: The work to relocate poles along SR 547 in Whatcom County has been postponed. In the future, we may revisit locations along the originally proposed pole relocation zone to determine the feasibility of this work.
  • PSE continues to work with WSDOT to determine the most feasible ways to improve safety and decrease the possibility of cars coming into contact with power poles.

Completed Projects

  • SR 534: Construction was completed in July of 2018. Crews relocated 71 poles along State Route (SR) 534 in Skagit County.
  • SR 544: In 2018, phase one of construction was completed along Highway 544, heading east from Highway 539 to Hannegan Road in Whatcom Country. 64 poles were relocated.
  • In 2016 and 2017, PSE completed dozens of pole relocations on SR 542 in Whatcom County, SR 20 in Island County and SR 507 in Thurston County.

Project overview

PSE is working to improve public safety as well as protect the integrity of its electrical infrastructure by relocating power poles farther off of state roadways. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has established the highway “control zone” (which is determined by the speed limit, traffic volume and contour of the shoulder) to enhance traffic safety. Per this WSDOT standard, the control zone should be free of obstructions to decrease the likelihood of cars coming into contact with objects adjacent to the roadway. PSE’s pole-relocation initiative is intended to bring poles into compliance with WSDOT’s control zone standard, and further decrease the possibility of cars coming into contact with power poles.

PSE estimates as part of this public-safety initiative, the utility will relocate between 5,000 and 7,000 of its 14,000 poles currently located along state highways. Under a 2012 agreement between PSE and WSDOT, PSE has set a target of 10 years to relocate all of its power poles outside the control zone, or find an alternate mitigation approach approved by WSDOT.

Stretches of highway that have experienced the most accidents involving power poles are expected to have first priority for relocation. We will provide more details on scope, timing and prioritization planning as soon as we have them. Visit the Washington State Department of Transportation website for more information about WSDOT’s control zone requirements.

Contact us

We welcome your questions and comments. Please contact:

Jeff McMeekin
Project Manager