Help me settle a "discussion" with a co-worker:  what are these contraptions on the utility lines?

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

My co-worker thinks that they are "splices" in the cable that line workers make when adding wire; I think that they are "stress relief" devices, designed to "give way' before the cable snaps.  Do you have any idea what the purpose is??  Here is a closer shot:

utility wires (Staff photo)

We've received a few answers as to what these loops are. One person says that it is a "service loop" that "allows technicians to repair wire without replacing it" (we don't quite understand that process, but, okay).

Staff Photo

Another person (and this makes sense to me) says that it is a "horseshoe" (up north they call them "snowshoes") that allows technicians to use the wire/cable to pull on itself to take the slack out of the cable so it doesn't droop. Extra line is allowed between one set of poles, and that extra line is wrapped up around that horseshoe. Then the technician turns that horseshoe, which wraps more cable around it, taking up the slack. This process allows for tightening up the cable without using clamps that might damage the cable (specifically, fiber optic cable).

Staff Photo

And still, another comment we received on the post said that the loops were nothing more than "stress relief" points, as I stated above. The loops are held together with 'breakaway" ties that are designed to break before the cable breaks, unrolling the extra cable to relieve whatever pressure was being put on the line.

None of the answers came from someone who works in that industry, so I guess our question is still not completely answered.

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