In 2013, the city of West Branch, Michigan, began construction on the West Branch Streetscape Project. Its goal was to enhance the entrance into the town and improve safety along the two-mile stretch of the I-75 Business Loop (Cook Road) that leads from the freeway exit to the downtown area. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) designated 97 roadway lights to line the road leading to the city as part of the project. For a project of this size to be completed on schedule while keeping the roadway completely open during construction, maximizing efficiency and minimizing space requirements was key.
When confronted with the alternatives to either pour the foundations for the light poles and fixtures or use precast bases, the electrical contractor Rauhorn Electric chose the Pole Base precast system.
“We use precast bases on projects like this because of the flexibility of the system,” said Del Rau, President of Rauhorn Electric. “They can be installed in harsh weather conditions, areas with wet or undesirable soil, and are quick and easy to install.”
Pole Base is an architecturally designed precast concrete foundation for outdoor site lighting, streetscapes, parking lots, and more. With multiple face textures, color options, and customizable finishes, Pole Base offers an aesthetically pleasing solution that stands out in the industry.
Since Pole Base is manufactured in a controlled environment to ensure top quality, installation can happen at any time, regardless of weather or site conditions.
Although Pole Base products look great above grade, this project was unique because all bases were completely below grade. The number one advantage of Pole Base in this application was the fact that it was so much more efficient to install.
Since the Pole Base precast system didn’t require on-site foundation assembly or cement mixers, Rau’s team could streamline installation, working on its own schedule in a tight space, independent of weather and traffic conditions. “The ability to inventory the bases on site eliminates the disadvantages of cast-in-place methods like short loads with cement mixers, waiting for the mixers to arrive on site between loads, and assembly in an uncontrolled setting. We can work on our own schedule, and that makes us more efficient.” Rau said.
The installation crew consisted of two people onsite and two pieces of equipment. Having trenched in conduit before the bases were delivered, the process went very quickly. The crew augured the hole, set a shallow crushed stone base in the bottom of the hole, lowered and leveled the base into place, connected the conduit, and backfilled the base before compacting the stone and adding a layer of topsoil. According to the installers, total installation time per base took 1.5 to 2 hours.