Published in the January 30, 2020 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Engineers from the Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department will have to go back to the drawing board after town councilors this week questioned their recommendation regarding the location of a new utility pole and a new guy pole on Del Carmine Street.

Engineering and Operations Manager David Polson and Senior System Engineer Vincent McMahon presented the request at a public hearing before the Town Council on Monday.

McMahon explained that the WMGLD is trying to update its system in the Del Carmine Street area and eliminate some lines that go across residents’ backyards. The new wooden utility pole would be located on a grassy spot on the corner of Del Carmine Street and a driveway next an office building. A shorter, steel guy pole would be placed across Del Carmine Street, near Fernald Field, with a guy line running to the wooden pole. The engineers explained that the guy pole is needed to stabilize the wooden pole because as the electrical wires turn the corner, they tend to pull on the utility pole.

The black steel guy pole would be placed just inside the curb of a paved sidewalk next to Fernald Field and would not impact parking, according to the plan.

But some councilors were worried about the location of the new steel guy pole.

Councilor Paul DiNocco was concerned about safety with all of the kids running around near the field. He wondered if the bottom section of the pole could be wrapped to prevent injury from someone running into it. McMahon and Polson said that they were confident that something like that could be done.

DiNocco also asked if a larger wood laminate utility pole could be used instead, eliminating any need for the guy pole.

Polson noted that while a larger, laminate pole would be more substantial and would not require a guy, the oversized poles have not been well-received by the public in the past.

Polson defended the two-pole plan as presented.

“We’re doing this to create a better environment down there,” he said. “I think it’s a reasonable plan and does improve the situation. We’re trying to build an infrastructure that people rely on.”

But when town councilors pressed for some type of alternative, the engineers said that they would have to go back to the drawing board.

“We do think this is the best possibility that we could come up with,” Polson said. “All other possibilities come with some challenges. If you’re totally opposed to it, we’ll have to go back and look for some other options.”

Councilor Jonathan Chines said that he was comfortable with what the engineers were proposing and that that they had looked at all of the options.

Councilor Ann Santos said that she agreed with Chines but would like to see a clearer visual representation of what the proposed configuration would look like. Polson and McMahon said that they could provide such a rendering.

Anthony Arcari, who owns property on Del Carmine Street, asked why the electrical lines couldn’t be put underground.

Polson said that it was cost prohibitive to underground the wires.

Arcari also had some concerns about the location of the wooden utility pole and the ability of vehicles to make the turn coming out of his property. The engineers said that the pole could be backed up a bit to provide more clearance.

Chairman Edward Dombroski asked the engineers to come back with better visual renderings of what they were proposing as requested by Santos.

The public hearing was continued to Feb. 10.