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Greenville

Telephone Poles/Power Lines

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Okay, this may seem silly to some, but in recent years I have realized why some areas feel "newer" and "cleaner" to me, and that is because they do not have visible telephone poles. Instead, they bury them (like in most recently-developed housing subdivisions).

I realized this a few years ago when in Alpharetta, GA, a nice and fairly upscale suburb of Atlanta. All of the shopping areas had nicely paved streets, nice landscaping, and no telephone poles! There were no ugly brown poles every so often, or a mess of ugly power lines strewn about. This was obviously part of good planning on their part, and I wish Greenville would do more of the same.

Drive down Haywood, Woodruff, or Laurens Roads and you will see telephone poles and power lines galore. It really is ugly if you ask me, and takes away from the view. I would LOVE to see a county-wide project implemented where we put the power lines underground and improve landscaping - at least in the high-traffic areas. Wouldn't this go a long way in improving the atmosphere around Greenville (which directly relates to that "quality of life" Greenville is all about)?

Does anyone know if any other cities have done something like this? Is there any hope that we will one day do something like this, or is it way too costly or time-consuming to do something like this once telephone poles have been established?

I am interested in hearing how other people feel about this (or if they have even noticed).

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It is most commonly done at the time of construction, not years after the fact. As Brad said, the taxpayer cost would be more than most would be willing to bear, even if it is an improvement to the appearance of the environment. Another thing to consider is that you can't just go digging up the ground all over the place, because there are already lots of important things such as water and sewer already buried everywhere. That being said, I wish it would have begun thus. :rolleyes:

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Jacksonville neighborhood to shift power lines underground

This article details the cost and requirements to move existing power lines underground in a Jacksonville neighborhood. The cost is about $7-9,000 per home, and 90% of the owners in the affected area must agree to pay it. About 56% of all homes in Jacksonville already have underground lines. This high percentage is due primarily to the fact that JEA, the city-owned electric utility, required it of all new construction many years ago.

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Water and sewer are typically buried much deeper than electric and telecom conduit, b

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No its the other way around. 240V power lines are typically the deepest thing in your yard. Most codes require it to be a minimum of 6ft down because if you cut the cable with a shovel it will kill you pretty quickly. I've seen the end of a back hoe blown off because a careless operator dug into a residential line. Telephone and cable tv cables don't have this requirement and are typically only a few inches below the surface.

There is another big problem with burying power lines in an existing neighborhood. The electrical service that serves a house has to be refitted to accept underground service. That means the main meter box has to be rewired which requires a building permit in most municipalities. Now in order to pass the inspection the resulting wiring has to be brought up to code which can result in thousands of dollars in additional fees for the homeowner. There will be a huge protest against this. Its for this reason that burials of existing power lines are extremely rare and only happen if major redevelopment is going on in an area.

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In an ideal world lines would be buried, but as monsoon said it would result in home owners shouldering most of the costs due to retrofitting

new metercans. The home owners would also have to pay for the lines to be buried from the utilities right of ways to their house. The cost is probably more than anyone could imagine.However that being said there are benifits as well when bad weather arrives( snow,ice,wind ect...)The lines do not het damaged like the overhead lines do. I guess there is pros and cons to every argument.

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I think this is more of a problem in the very visible areas of town (e.g., Woodruff Road, Haywood Road, Laurens Road, etc.). I was not really thinking about residential areas when I started the topic, because many residential neighborhoods already have them underground (the newer ones, anyway).

Residential developers already seem to understand the value of burying power lines, but is there something the city is doing (or can do) to create more visually pleasing streets in commercial areas? Some sort of city-wide project to improve this would be great, and if we can't go back and "fix" the existing problem, we could at least prevent it from happening from this point forward.

I am thinking that The Parkway (just off Pelham, near Michelin) is sans-telephone poles. It is also a very clean, pleasing drive. :)

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Water and sewer are typically buried much deeper than electric and telecom conduit, but they are not placed on top of existing conveyance systems b/c the need for access for repairs/upgrades.  With directional drilling technologies now available it is much easier to bury conduit without digging up large areas.  Conduit or conveyance pipe upto 6" is fairly easy to install using this method.  The only digging involved is the entry and exit point of the drill bit.  It is expensive, but it is becoming more popular.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Water & sewer lines arent that deep. Maybe 4 feet. A water transmission main or sewer outfall or interceptor may be deeper since they are a more impoartant (and typically larger) pipe. But that is not universal.

I do agree that burying lines is more attractive, and safer for the line (wind, trees and ice can't affect it). Its more expensive, but one could argue that it would save money in the long run for not having to repair it so often.

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No its the other way around.  240V power lines are typically the deepest thing in your yard.  Most codes require it to be a minimum of 6ft down because if you cut the cable with a shovel it will kill you pretty quickly.  I've seen the end of a back hoe blown off because a careless operator dug into a residential line.  Telephone and cable tv cables don't have this requirement and are typically only a few inches below the surface. 

There is another big problem with burying power lines in an existing neighborhood.  The electrical service that serves a house has to be refitted to accept underground service.  That means the main meter box has to be rewired which requires a building permit in most municipalities.  Now in order to pass the inspection the resulting wiring has to be brought up to code which can result in thousands of dollars in additional fees for the homeowner.  There will be a huge protest against this.  Its for this reason that burials of existing power lines are extremely rare and only happen if major redevelopment is going on in an area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

monsoon, where do you get your information on the burial depth of electrical line. From my reading, NEC guidelines do not require depths of more than 2' in most cases for residential. Grounding rods must be buried to depths of 6'. Also, there are a few places where 6' of burial would require blasting in Greenville. Even high voltage transmission lines are not typicallly buried that deep. Wisconsin regs require a burial depth of 3-4 feet as long as the line is not going through a flood plain (I don't know what NC and SC require). You are not going to put a shovel through the conduit/ducts they use for transmission lines.

Correct me if I am wrong.

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It's also good for trees in the first place. How many of us have gone through a neighborhood or section of town,where Duke Power or the other guys from the

tree cutting services, have mutilated the trees. So that there is clearance around

the power lines. Now seeing a malformed tree is way worst than ugly powerlines.

But I guess in older neighborhoods it's not practical. Now major roadways, That's

something different all together. So you would have to say to yourself. Self. When

they were doing all this road widening( Laurens, Woodruff, Western Corridor, list

could go on and on), Why did they not think about buring these things. They thought about it when they built Verdae and the roads at ICAR. Just makes since

to me. While you got the roads torn up anyway. Bury the damn things.

-I moved your post up here, and deleted the dupe. :) -Spartan

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yeah, the power company guys don't exactly keep aesthetics in mind when they are slicing and dicing the trees

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One would think that some sort of city regulation could take care of this problem from here on. Power lines being installed? Bury them. A road being widened? Bury them. It's the smart thing to do, IMO.

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I agree with the lines going underground. I'm planning to move to the new Pendleton West development in downtown Greenville, and one of my primary questions before considering the development was replacement and placement of existing poles.

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Are they burying the power lines in that area?

I asked the developer sometime last week and their PR person was only able to tell me that, "some of the existing poles may be eliminated." If you take a look at some of the pictures I have posted via a link in Pendleton West construction thread, you can see the plethora o' poles. Here's a good example...

52192997309_0_ALB.jpg

Now, if they were to leave this pole, it would be a huge visual impairment to the three story multi-use building to go here. I can hardly see the developer not finding a way to eliminate this pole and tidy up the cabling to prevent obstructing views of the building.

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Okay, this may seem silly to some, but in recent years I have realized why some areas feel "newer" and "cleaner" to me, and that is because they do not have visible telephone poles. Instead, they bury them (like in most recently-developed housing subdivisions).

I realized this a few years ago when in Alpharetta, GA, a nice and fairly upscale suburb of Atlanta. All of the shopping areas had nicely paved streets, nice landscaping, and no telephone poles! There were no ugly brown poles every so often, or a mess of ugly power lines strewn about. This was obviously part of good planning on their part, and I wish Greenville would do more of the same.

Drive down Haywood, Woodruff, or Laurens Roads and you will see telephone poles and power lines galore. It really is ugly if you ask me, and takes away from the view. I would LOVE to see a county-wide project implemented where we put the power lines underground and improve landscaping - at least in the high-traffic areas. Wouldn't this go a long way in improving the atmosphere around Greenville (which directly relates to that "quality of life" Greenville is all about)?

Does anyone know if any other cities have done something like this? Is there any hope that we will one day do something like this, or is it way too costly or time-consuming to do something like this once telephone poles have been established?

I am interested in hearing how other people feel about this (or if they have even noticed).

Just dawned on you, did it? The worst leftover detritus of the 20th century industrial expansion--the overhead power grid. Like an ugly spiderweb in older cities. Horrifically expensive to retrofit underground. The various Public Service Commissions should have required all power co's to bury the big lines as they expanded into undeveloped areas, but they never do. The big power companies exert too much influence and don't want to incur the additional cost to bury. That's why you see the big power towers out west and elsewhere. All new developments have buried utilities because of regulations, but it may be centuries before all the old lines are put underground.

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As asthetially nice as underground power is, it is cost prohibitive in many cases, and second, trying to get a new hookup (ie: National Grid for Smokey Bones in Stoughton, MA) is painfully expensive and time comsuming. It took NG two weeks to get a line ran from the underground junction to the restaurant, about 75 feet total. Yeah, I'd expect it with new development, but outside of that, its highly unlikely to happen for retrofit.

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There is an EXCELLENT column by Jeanne Brooks in today's Greenville News on Page 1B of the Metro Section.

Evidently utility lines in Downtown Greenville were burried back in 1957. Nobody seems to know why. Nobody knows what the cost was. Nobody seemingly knew that it had been done. So odd that a period from our contemporary history has already fallen so far into the past that it has become contemporary mystery. :unsure:

It's a great read for anyone interested. Unfortunately, it's not available online (yet).

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There is an EXCELLENT column by Jeanne Brooks in today's Greenville News on Page 1B of the Metro Section.

Evidently utility lines in Downtown Greenville were burried back in 1957. Nobody seems to know why. Nobody knows what the cost was. Nobody seemingly knew that it had been done. So odd that a period from our contemporary history has already fallen so far into the past that it has become contemporary mystery. :unsure:

It's a great read for anyone interested. Unfortunately, it's not available online (yet).

Thanks for the tip RT. :thumbsup: This was a really interesting article!

Here's another similar article:

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs....1064/CITYPEOPLE

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