People driving near the intersection of Routes 741 and 283 in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County Tuesday saw some traffic delays, and an interesting view.
A specially equipped helicopter took flight seven times over the course of the day to thread ropes between new PPL power poles.
Crews stopped traffic for 20 minutes at a time for drivers’ safety, as the helicopter pulled the ropes across Rt. 741.
Pilot Dan Arenson started flying helicopters as a hobby more than 20 years ago. He now has the skills required for such a precise job.
“You have to be a decent long-line pilot or decent at vertical reference,” he said. “It’s somewhat tricky because the ropes that are flying are 100 feet away from you so you have to have good depth perception in order to thread the rope.”
Later on this week, workers will attach new power lines to the ropes. The next step won’t require a helicopter, but it will cause more traffic delays.
“We ask the commuting public to bear with us,” said John Levitski, a regional affairs manager for PPL in Lancaster County. “We’ll try to keep the traffic impacts to a minimum, and at the same time, we’ll see the fruits of this labor with an increased reliability for everyone out there.”
The project is part of $48 million in infrastructure improvements PPL has planned for Lancaster County this year.