Infamous utility pole in Five Points intersection to be replaced

Posted May 3, 2016

— Raleigh's Five Points intersection is well-known for its unique shape and famous landmarks – Hayes Barton Baptist Church, Nofo at the Pig, The Rialto Theatre and much more.

It's also the site of an infamous utility pole, one the city says has been damaged nearly a dozen times in the last half-decade.

The utility pole is near Hayes Barton Baptist Church, and it's been hit 11 times by drivers on northbound Glenwood Avenue. City officials say drivers who miss the curve often scrape the wall and bring down the pole, which holds a line of traffic signals across the sprawling intersection.

Hayes Barton Pharmacy manager Brent Talley says the crashes usually create quite a mess.

"Usually right in the middle of morning rush hour," he said. "It kind of creates a catastrophe up and down Glenwood Avenue."

Jed Niffenegger, the City of Raleigh's Transportation Operations director, said a project scheduled to start next week should create a permanent solution to keep the intersection safe.

"It's come to the point where rebuilding (the pole) has become an operation bear for the city," Niffenegger said.

Crews will begin replacing the wooden utility poles with sturdier metal mast arms at the intersection. The new poles will look nicer and should remove some of the overhead clutter in the intersection.

The project will also include the addition of new pedestrian crossing signals and fresh paint for the crosswalks.

Talley said he hopes the work ends the neighborhood headache.

"Change is probably necessary to keep the crews from having to come out here and fix that one every so often," Talley said.

Construction at the intersection will continue through May and into June. There will be lane closures, but contractors plan to do much of the heavy work overnight, city officials said.

Niffenegger said the project is a joint effort by the city and North Carolina Department of Transportation. Money for the work is coming from the normal operating budget.

"This is something we did out of necessity because the operational maintenance of rebuilding this was growing to a level that (justified it)," he said.


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