Duquesne Light successfully added the use of a helicopter and aerial saw to its Vegetation Management toolkit this year. This work, which is intended to maintain vegetation on the edges of our rights of way (ROW) in rural areas and difficult terrain, was completed during two different timeframes – April through mid-May and the last few weeks in August. This involved pruning 62 miles of vegetation in the Raccoon and Preble service areas and 48 miles in the McKeesport service area.
The use of the aerial saw, which is an industry best-practice for this type of maintenance pruning, has been more efficient than previously used practices.
“It’s a safer operation because our contractors aren’t exposed to as many potential risks accessing and climbing trees in these areas,” said Jim Barry, Manager, Vegetation Management. “It is also a more efficient practice overall. We’re very pleased to have the aerial saw in our Vegetation Management toolkit moving forward.”
During the pruning process, the aerial saw is suspended beneath a helicopter that flies at a safe distance from homes and other buildings. The pilot remains in constant contact with ground crews, who flag traffic, as needed, and cut branches closer to the ground. Any pruned branches that fall onto access roads, maintained yard areas, agricultural fields or into streams during the operations, are diced and moved to the ROW edge by ground workers shortly after the pruning work is performed.
All property owners who were affected by the aerial saw pruning received notification of the work earlier this year.
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