In the coming weeks, American Electric Power (AEP) will be replacing 27 utility poles in the German Village Historic District. This project is required to accommodate a change in the transfer stations North of the district related to the 70/71 split project.

I had the pleasure of walking the route along which the poles will be replaced with Senior Engineer Todd Walter and site supervisor Mike Bell. They explained the necessity for pole replacement, pointed out each aging poles to be replaced and walked me through the process of actually replacing the poles themselves.

The route runs along Jaeger beginning at Whittier and ending just north of Jackson. All but four of the new poles will be wood, the remaining four being what is referred to as ‘self-supporting’ poles. These are of steel, a bit stouter and set approximately 20 feet into the ground. These four are necessary at the point where Jaeger ‘jogs’ at Sycamore. This break in the line requires additional support. The steel self-supporting poles will not require guy lines.  A 3’ circumference concrete base is required, which Todd and Mike indicated would remain just below ground at the base of the pole, allowing for grass or plant covering up to the actual pole itself.

There are two standard finishes for these steel poles: galvanized and ‘rust’, literally. I worked with the former City Historic Preservation Officer, Randy Black at the time the order for the poles was made. He determined that we were to use the ‘rusted’ version of the steel pole, being the one most appropriate for the district.

In general, the process for replacing each pole goes like this:

  1. The new hole is bored out using high-pressure water and a vacuum. These will generally be located immediately adjacent to the existing poles. There will be one or possibly two poles that will be replaced in the exact same spot due to driveways not allowing a second placement;
  2. The new pole is set;
  3. AEP transfers its wires from the old pole to the new pole;
  4. Those entities that lease space on the pole for their services such as the City of Columbus and cable service providers then schedule to transfer their wires from the old pole to the new;
  5. Once all wires are transferred the old pole is removed.

In order to create the new holes, a very large vac truck will need to be used. This, in addition to maneuvering the poles themselves, will require partial and perhaps in some cases the complete closure of streets for brief periods of time, hours, possibly full days. AEP will notify affected property owners and will also work with the Columbus Police Department should streets require partial or full closure. Your cooperation in keeping the street clear of parked cars will expedite the project.

The German Village Society may also assist in communicating to residents regarding the need to park elsewhere during these installations.

AEP does not anticipate any long-lasting power outages during this project. In most cases, if they need to shut down power, it will be to individual properties, not full blocks. Again, AEP will be communicating with residents well in advance should they require a power disruption.

Finally, AEP will be conducting full restoration of any hard landscaping such as bricks or sidewalks and will repair/replace and plant materials that may be damaged.  The use of high-pressure water to create the new holes is much less disruptive to the fabric of the street so we anticipate minimal disruption to our street and landscapes as a result of this project.

If you have additional questions or would like contact information for customer service representatives at AEP, please email me at


-Nancy Kotting

Historic Preservation Advocate

The German Village Society