Traffic-heavy Mercer Street was a major transportation challenge for the City of Seattle. With an increasing number of travelers, aging infrastructure, and new tech businesses moving into the surrounding South Lake Union area, complaints about the existing one-way street were piling up. In 2010, the extensive upgrade to the corridor began and the city chose to collaborate with Valmont to engineer and design very specific custom pole products.
The project architect envisioned the vibrant South Lake Union area as the crown jewel of Seattle. To signal this prominence, Valmont’s engineering team made a unique design using 16-sharp fluted poles, Alhambra-style luminaire arms and Chief Seattle bases. The city valued Valmont’s ability to start fluting above the decorative base, which looks much better and ensures a snug fit between the base and the pole. Not only did the poles have to fit the aesthetic requirements, they also had to have increased strength since some of the poles had the additional load of heavy streetcar cables. As a result, Valmont increased the thickness of the poles while keeping their diameter consistent to fit within the required footprint.
Because of the limited space for storing poles along Mercer Street, the project posed a logistical challenge as well. Yet, through careful planning Valmont was able to accommodate the contractor’s needs by loading the poles on trucks in a specific sequence for optimal offloading. Valmont shipped the poles in several phases based on the installation process.