Published in the October 15, 2015 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department will be erecting two new poles on Salem Street near the Montrose area in order to facilitate running some new wires related to the new William Wallace electrical substation in Montrose.
The Board of Selectmen approved the MGLD’s petition to install the poles at a public hearing last night. The hearing did draw one local businessman who was concerned that some of the work related to the installation of the poles and wires could impact his business.
MGLD Assistant Manager Gene Sullivan and Electric Superintendent Dan Flynn presented the request to the selectmen. Flynn explained that the original request was for two guy poles and one utility pole but the MGLD had eliminated one of the guy poles from the plan after determining that it would not be needed.
The WMGLD has already replaced 11 poles along that stretch of Salem Street but Flynn noted that those poles replaced existing poles in the same location and did not require approval of the selectmen. New pole locations do require approval.
Flynn explained that guy poles are 35-foot tall steel poles that help to take the strain of utility poles, especially in cases where a pole is on an angle. Guy poles are typically placed across the street from the pole being stabilized, he said, and have just one steel cable attached that runs across the street to the utility pole.
The new guy pole will be near 363 Salem St. close to the intersection of Chapman Road.
The new 50-foot wooden utility pole will replace a utility pole that is currently in front of the Prime Gas station at the corner of Salem and Lowell streets. Flynn noted that the current pole “has a major lean to it,” and the MGLD would like to replace it with a new pole to be located across the street, in front of 330 Salem St. The new, taller pole will elevate the wires that are presently hanging low.
Willie Dunbar, owner of Willow Tree Gardens and Flower Center at 330 Salem St. said that he had no problem with the placement of the new pole, but was concerned about when the work would be done. He said that the last time similar work was done, his lot was blocked by cones. He said that he hoped that the work would not be done during a time when his business is especially busy, such as between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Flynn told Dunbar that the MGLD would like to get the pole up in the next week and he would contact Dunbar the day before in an effort to minimize any impact on Dunbar’s business.
But Dunbar said that he was not just worried about the pole work but also about the timing of moving and pulling wires along that portion of Salem Street.
Flynn assured Dunbar that the WMGLD would make every effort to get its work done as soon as possible to avoid any negative impact on Dunbar’s holiday business. However, Flynn and Sullivan admitted that they had no control over when other companies on the poles like Verizon and Comcast would move their wires.
But Flynn and Sullivan assured Dunbar that they would reach out to contacts that they have at Verizon and try to get them out there to move their wires as soon as possible.
Selectman Betsy Sheeran said that the board had to do what was needed to facilitate the WMGLD’s work.
Dunbar asked why the other companies with wires on those poles didn’t have to come before the selectmen. Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio explained that Verizon only needs to come in if it’s their pole. In this case, the pole would belong to the WMGLD.
Sullivan pointed out that the town currently has approximately 1,000 double poles because of the long lag between WMGLD pole work and companies like Verizon and Comcast moving their wires.
“You may go for two Christmases,” Sullivan said, before those other companies get around to moving their wires.
Ultimately, Dunbar said that he was confident that the WMGLD would do whatever they could to minimize the impact on his business.
The selectmen voted to approve the WMGLD petitions for the new guy pole and the new utility pole.