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How to Remove a Light Pole

Cassandra Tribe

Whether you are remodeling or just need to remove a light pole temporarily to make room for your construction equipment, you must know how to properly disconnect the electricity and safely lift the pole off its foundation. For light poles under 10 feet in height, this is an easy process. For taller light poles, you will need a lifting machine (forklift, crane or excavator) to remove it safely.

  1. Make sure the power to the light pole is turned off.

  2. Rig the pole to be lifted. If your light pole is less than 10 feet tall, you simply need a helper to steady it. For taller poles, wrap a cotton lifting strap around it, passing one end through the eye of the other. Pull the strap tight to close the loop. Attach the free eye to the hook of your lifting machine, and have the machine raise the strap until it has pulled the pole up to where the pole joins the fixture and the strap cannot be pulled farther. The lifting machine should keep the strap tight but not put so much pressure on it that it puts all the strain on the strap.

  3. Tie a rope around the base of the pole, and lay the rope to one side away from the pole. Have a helper hold the end of the rope and keep tension on it. This is called a tag line and will allow your helper to control the swing of the bottom of the light pole when it comes free.

  4. Use a socket wrench to remove the lock nuts on the base bolts holding the light pole in place.

  5. Have the operator of your lifting machine begin to raise the pole slowly off the bolts. Make sure your helper maintains tension on the tag line. When the pole comes off the bolts, it could move to one side, so have your helper guide it and maintain tension on the rope. When the pole is six inches off the ground, stop lifting, and have the operator keep it in place off the ground.

  6. Reach under and into the center of the pole, and pull down the wires, which are spliced using a plastic spin cap on each splice. Remove these by spinning the cap counter-clockwise. As you remove each cap, separate the wires and reattach the cap to the wire that leads into the underground electrical system. Do this for all the wires in the pole.

  7. Signal the operator to lift and move the pole away from the base and to set it down (on the pole base), then lower the entire pole until it is lying on the ground. Your helper can control the base by keeping tension on the rope. If you must "walk" the pole to ground (moving the lifting machine with the pole vertical), make sure you maintain a clear distance equal to the height of the pole on both sides of the machine so no one will be injured should the pole fall.