The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

November 13, 2013

Tree trimming a high wire act

Job requires chopper with saw hanging on cable

SHARPSVILLE — Trimming trees takes on a different dimension when the job site involves high-tension power lines. If the towers run through a river valley with trees growing on steep hillsides, the job gets even tougher.

That was the problem Penn Power Co.’s owner First Energy Corp. solved Monday from the air by hiring a crew that uses a helicopter to trim trees with a gigantic saw assembly hanging from a cable.

Chuck Jackson, Mercer County area manager for Penn Power Co., said Aerial Solutions, a North Carolina-based contractor, topped trees and sheared branches along a half-mile of the 138,000-volt line between Mahaney Recreation Area of Shenango River Lake to David W. Wallace Bridge at Walnut Street in Sharpsville.

“He did in 20 minutes what it would take a crew two weeks to do working from the ground,” Jackson said.

The company in 1985 pioneered development of its “air saw” made up of an in-line gang of 10 blades for tough trimming jobs along inaccessible rights of way such as powerlines.

The 800-pound assembly, powered by a 24-horsepower engine, hangs 90 feet below the helicopter. Its blades cut branches in a 20-foot swath as the pilot guides the saw along its route, Aerial Solutions’ website says.

Jackson said workers employed by Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Willow Grove, Pa., walked the cutting route afterward and cleaned up the trimmings.

Penn Power had coordinated the job with the Army Corps of Engineers which closed several gates at Shenango Dam to lower the water level in the river, helping to keep branches from floating downstream.

Workers had strung a rope across the Shenango just above the bridge to snag limbs and branches so they could be removed and ground into wood chips. The crew used grappling hooks to pull the debris out of the river for disposal, Jackson said.

Weather has twice affected the job that initially was scheduled for last week. The threat of rain initially postponed it and wind Monday cut the effort short.

Jackson said the utility will work with contractors to decide when and how to continue the work along the river toward Sharon.

“We pride ourselves in the reliability of our transmission system,” he said. “We trim trees and top them so that even if they slide down the hill as they sometimes do, they would slide under the lines and not onto them.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos