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Old Y-12 utility poles put to use for recreation and training

Logs and trucks

Maintenance Support and Utilities Management personnel at NNSA's Y-12 National Security Complex have taken steps to make sure old utility poles aren’t sent to the landfill. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division and Y-12 staff collaborated to deliver utility poles to Lone Mountain State Forest’s parking lots.

Mike Disney, Y-12 Power Operations section manager, said, “It’s good that we can help other agencies, save tax dollars, and help save the environment all at the same time. Opportunities like this don’t happen very often.”

After the old utility poles were inspected and approved for off-site use, six forestry service employees brought five lumber trucks on site in October 2011. Y-12’s line crew cut the 90-foot poles into smaller sections and helped load the trucks. The lumber trucks eventually hauled away more than 100 poles.

Cables pass through holes in waist-high sections of the poles, creating a border and confining vehicles and horse trailers to designated parking areas. In the near future, forestry personnel will use some of the poles as structure posts for a much-needed pavilion that will provide cover for Morgan and Roane County wildland firefighting equipment. Other sections of the poles will be used to block motorized vehicles from using the horse trails. 

Additional uses for the old poles have been found. The U.S. Department of Energy is using some of the old poles at its secure transportation courier training facility in Oak Ridge. Some of the poles have been used to build a façade for a bunker on a live firing range. Additional poles have been stockpiled, and a combat conditioning course will be built as soon as funding is provided.