In late June 2016, K&W responded to the call of three different communication entities each having a large presence in the Kansas City area: Level 3 Communications, Time Warner Cable, and KC Scout. All of which have fiber optic cables attached to the Interstate 670 Grand Blvd bridge which was scheduled for demolition. BHC Rhodes engineered a plan to reroute these cables overhead and then reconnect at nearby access points on both sides so service could be maintained throughout the bridge construction process. This overhead crossing would not only be 60 feet from the nearby bridge, but around 50 feet above seven lanes of interstate traffic. K&W immediately went to the drawing board and devised a plan for what would become quite a unique aerial crossing.
Typically in aerial line construction, a heavy duty cable called a strand, is strung tight between utility poles and later the fiber cables are wrapped (lashed) to it with small wire – a process that would involve an extensive amount of groundwork. K&W’s solution was to do this aerial crossing using specialty equipment and maneuvering in place the fiber cables already pre-lashed to the strand high above the interstate. The idea of no lane closures or disruption of interstate traffic in the middle of downtown was certainly appealing to MODOT, who is overseeing the entire project.
Construction work began on each side to install the temporary poles and gain connectivity to each customer’s respective access points. Meanwhile, pre-lashing the fiber cables began at K&W’s facility. A total of 6 fiber optic cables (2, 288ct, 144ct, 2, 84ct, and a 48ct) were divided up and pre-lashed to each of two strands. Pre-lashed cables were cut at lengths specific to the each customer’s needs, and then spooled back up for transport to the job site.
Early morning, Saturday August 6, 2016, K&W crews assembled on site and began to layout cables, maneuver equipment in place, and prepped poles on each side with everything that could be done beforehand. Cables were laid out on the nearby bridge where they would be picked up by large lifts allowing crews to simultaneously lift the pre-assembled section to its final destination spanning across the Interstate. One side of the crossing was anchored to the pole beforehand, which allowed a pulley system to be used at each lift. These pulleys allowed slack to be taken out as the line was lifted into place and keep it as tight as possible the entire duration. As soon as the cables were in close proximity to their destination, bucket trucks were in place to winch them tight and make the permanent attachment to the poles. As mentioned previously, the crossing consisted of two pre-lashed fiber cable sections so the entire process was repeated for the second crossing. Shortly after both crossings had taken place, the risers were built down the poles to protect the cables. Once complete, the fiber cables were then routed through conduit to their respective nearby access locations to await their scheduled splicing cut over.
This project is another example of K&W and its fiber department rising to a challenge and answering the call. It furthermore highlights K&W’s high regard to safety, high standards, exceeding customer expectations, along with an ongoing commitment to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Congratulations to the K&W Fiber Department for the professionalism and excellence in making this project a great success!