SMUD Adding Protective Barriers around Some Poles

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SACRAMENTO -- You've undoubtedly seen reflective strips on power poles, as required by law.

The strips help make the poles more visible, but they don't make the poles immune to car crashes.

"It's nothing different than what we've seen. It's distracted driving, drunk driving," SMUD Grid Asset Director Jason McAlister said. "But the biggest part of it, is we are just traveling many more miles."

Last year, there are 271 car into pole crashes in the Sacramento area. Each one cost SMUD $11,000 to fix -- but McAlister says it could potentially cost more than just money.

Each incident can put line repair workers in danger. The crashes can also cause traffic delays and knock out power to thousands of people.

SMUD's solution is placing highly visible, protective barriers in key locations. They're called "Raptors."

"It's made out of an energy absorbing material inside, and wrapped with a polyethylene shell around it," McAlister said.

San Diego and Portland have already installed similar barriers around town. And it’s working – easy to repair, and costs are cut in half.

Currently, two Raptors have been installed in Sacramento. Six more are set to be installed in the next few months.