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Q&A

Cable loops between utility poles?

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Sometimes cables between utility poles make a loop and do a U-turn. What is the purpose of such loops?

The loop I'm asking about is in the lower set of wires towards the left of the picture. These must be communication cables. The 3-phase power is clearly evident at the top of the pole.

Here is the other end of the same span.

Is this just extra cable for some possible future connection or maintenance use? Or is there something else going on?

These pictures were taken 5 Jan 2021 in north-central Massachusetts, but I've seen loops like this for years and in many places in the US.


Update, 9 Jan 2021

I went back today to have a more detailed look. Here is a closeup of one of the loops:

Image

And here is a view of the whole span:

Image

I know its not clear in the pictures, but both loops are in the top of the two communication cables, and have nothing to do with the lower cable. Each loop appears to be simply a cable turning around to head back in the direction it came from. The snowshoe-shaped racks appear to just be mechanical support for the loop, and to guarantee some minimum bend radius.

So is this really just a way to store some slack, or is there some other purpose? It seems like rather a lot of slack, but I'm not sure what all the reasons might be that slack is required.

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4 comments

Just a guess but in your lower picture (ignoring the detail immediately at the support pole and looking a little to the right), it looks like the lower cable might physically swap places with the upper cable in order to get the same induction from the power cables and thus cancel out differential induced voltages. Just a guess really. Andy aka‭ 15 days ago

@Andy: Maybe, but in the top picture you can clearly see that the loop has no effect on the other cable. It may be just a parallax thing in the second picture. I'll try to get back there and take more detailed pictures from better angles. Olin Lathrop‭ 15 days ago

Don't forget to wear your mask. Andy aka‭ 14 days ago

I always wondered too... article ... apparently, the extra length of line is so that fiber splicing can be done on the ground ??? Pete W‭ 14 days ago

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