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Case Study: Replacing a Light Pole & Foundation for Small Cell Installation

"The internet will follow you everywhere" is rumored to be a quote from Bill Gates from many years ago. The infrastructure to support this visionary statement keeps improving. We are getting close to the point where that will be true anytime and anywhere. We already experience the use of data acquistion from cellular networks in the form of apps like google maps. When those red lines indicating traffic jams, show up on your phone it is due to data coming in from other drivers stopped ahead of you. Soon there will be more data, and more machines talking to machines than people talking to people. Enabling this wave of connectivity are the engineers who invent the systems and contractors like us who get the systems in place no matter what the obstacles are. The benefirt will be smoother traffic flow, better transportation scheduling, more efficient freight movement and many other applications in fields like health, aerospace, and agriculture.

Breaking Out Side Walk  Saw Cut For Larger Foundation And Quazite Box

Saw cutting and breaking out sidewalk

Hydrovac Remove Old Foundation  Old Foundation Removed

Hydroexcavation and foundation removal

Small cell units are one of the keys to receiving a high quality signal in crowded urban and suburban areas. Low latency, that is the response time of the system, is shortened by the use of fiber optic networks. Fiber is the key to low latency in the current 4G LTE systems. This small case study details a link in a very long chain of events that bring you on demand communications and internet connectivity. This is the story of building a small cell node on a city street. You will be able to watch the process through time lapse video as well as see some detailed photographs detailing the construction. 

Rigging To Remove Old Foundation 

Rigging for foundation removal 

Not included in the case study are the efforts of our project managers and permit staff. The main steps to building a small cell site are as follows:

  • Mobilize to site and set up traffic control
  • Disconnect power and establish lock out tag out (LOTO), disconnect wiring, 
  • Rig pole, unbolt, remove. 
  • Remove any attached signage and store
  • Saw cut sidewalk to make room for foundation removal and installation of hand hole
  • Hydro excavate around existing foundation to access wire conduits and make room for removal
  • Remove foundation
  • Continue hydro excavation for deeper foundation and quazite hand hole
  • Insert sono tube, rebar cage and route new conduit and wiring into form
  • Install bolt template - leval and plumb
  • Install anchor bolts
  • Pour foundation
  • Demobilize
  • Remobilize after concrete cures
  • Unload and prepare new light pole. Attach signage, fish wires and wire light head, level attach nuts.
  • Rig pole hoist and set in place, bolt and torque
  • Make up wire connections, energize
  • Clean up site and demobilize

Watch the following video:


Projects like this require multiple crews spreading the work over different time periods. Multiple sites are usually in play to optimize material delivery, and concrete curing. Different skill sets are required to complete this work including excavation, machine operators, laborers, electricians. Safe work is an absolute requirement. Hazards exist in the form of moving traffic, pedestrian interference, suspended loads, operating multiple pieces of equipment in tight working areas, flying debris from power tools, slip-trip-fall hazards, and pinch points. Electric Conduit Construction has an agressive safety program that relies on employee participation to police job sites and watch over their coworkers. 

We are very proud of our workforce we value their dedication, skills and can-do attitude. This is what makes our company great. 

Connecting Ground And Power  Installing Light Pole Bolt Template

Ground and power wiring (L). Installing bolt template (R)

Install Anchor Bolts  Wiring Light Head

Inserting anchor bolts in template (L). Attaching and wiring the light head (R)

A big thanks to YORK Utility Services a verteran owned design build utility construction firm, for their assistance with this project. 

Responsibility is the foundation for all we do.

For over 60 years, we’ve built an environment within our company where safety is everyone’s responsibility. Every phase of every project, we accept nothing less than an accident-free jobsite. We believe this standard leads to safer and more productive jobsites and that’s why we’re dedicated to having the highest level of protection for our employees, our customers and the general public. That’s our standard.

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