How to set telephone poles

Written by stephen barron jr.
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How to set telephone poles
Installing telephone poles right the first time can solve a lot of future headaches. (new poles image by Joy Fera from

Telephone poles help deliver services to homes and businesses. Correct installation is important, because if these poles fall and wires come down, there is a danger to the community, as well as loss of services and revenue to the people who need those wires to be functioning to deliver things like cable, telephone or electricity to the home. One broken or collapsed pole can cause severe losses to the interested businesses and problems for folks who depend on their utilities being delivered efficiently and with little down time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Telephone Pole
  • Auger
  • Cement
  • 8-foot 2-by-4 piece of wood
  • Crane truck

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  1. 1

    Lay out where the poles will run and the distance needed between poles. Most telephone poles are spaced between 100 feet and 150 feet apart when wiring is being run. Planning ahead and selecting pole positions in advance will make for an efficient system of setting up multiple poles.

  2. 2

    Use an auger to drill a hole to set the pole into. This hole should be 10 per cent of the pole's length plus 4 feet. Usually a standard public telegraph pole stands about 40 feet from the top to the ground. The pole size originally purchased is actually 50 feet long with 9 to 10 feet of the pole below ground.

  3. 3

    Move the pole into position over the hole and then place the pole in the hole. This is done with a crane truck that will allow the pole to be placed into the hole and held into position while being secured. However, any 4-wheel-drive truck can pull the pole into position with guidance and manpower.

  4. 4

    Fill the hole in with cement and dirt to secure the pole in place. The pole also should be filled to straighten the pole and make it level. Leaning poles in a line where wire is going to be run could present problems when the time comes to attach wires to the pole.

  5. 5

    Cut the 8-foot 2-by-4 in half and use the two pieces of wood to stabilise the pole while the cement dries. This will help the pole to remain straight and not cause it to lean from the effects imposed on the pole by gravity or the elements.

  6. 6

    Remove the wood stabilisers after allowing enough time for the cement to dry and the ground around the pole to settle and begin to support the pole. This will vary based on the temperature, moisture in the ground, type of soil and type of concrete used.

Tips and warnings

  • Telegraph poles that extend further into the air may require wire support to remain stable when being erected. Poles that extend 60 feet or more into the air should have additional stabilisation to prevent leaning or falling.
  • Manpower is important in jobs like this. The pole is heavy and awkward to manoeuvre. The more people to lend strength and guidance to the task, the easier and safer it will be to install the pole.

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