5 On Your Side

Call From 5 On Your Side Gets Leaning Utility Pole Removed

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Three years after winds from Hurricane Isabel damaged a utility pole along Lake Wheeler Road, the leaning pole continued to pose a hazard to the neighborhood.

Brenda King has looked at the abandoned pole on the corner of her property every daysince the storm, expecting one day to see it on the ground after it had fallen and injured someone.

"I've got a bus bench here in my front yard. Parents bring their children up here in the mornings to catch the bus, and I'm just scared that if it does fall, it could hurt one of them. Or, if it fell the other way, if a car's coming by, it could seriously hurt or kill somebody," King said.

Progress Energy came out immediately after the hurricane to put up a new pole and move its lines. Other utilities moved their lines as well, but nobody ever took down the pole, which now leans against nearby phone lines.

King said she repeatedly called utility companies about the pole, only to get promises that it would be removed. A Progress Energy crew repairing damage from Tropical Storm Ernesto last month promised to submit a work order on the pole, she said.

When no one came to remove the pole, she called 5 On Your Side for help.

Progress Energy spokeswoman Tanya Evans said the company has no record of calls or a work order to remove the pole. When the company switches out poles, other utilities that share the pole are supposed to move their lines and then notify Progress Energy so the old pole can be picked up, she said.

That notification might not have happened in this case, Evans said. Within hours of a call from 5 On Your Side, however, the utility sent a crew to take the pole down.

"I'm just tickled to death that it's gone," King said. "It's going to make this corner a whole lot safer for everyone who lives out here now."


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