About 14 utility poles around parts of downtown Huntersville will be removed over the next few weeks, as the last set of lines are moved into conduits underground.
The work began in 2010 as part of the Town Center project, which coincided with the construction of Discovery Place Kids in downtown, said Town Manager Greg Ferguson.
Power lines were moved into an underground duct bank – conduits meant to protect and consolidate cabling to and from buildings – and Time Warner Cable later moved its utilities off the poles as well, Ferguson said.
Now AT&T is working to move its fiber optic cables and phone lines from the poles to the duct bank to complete the project.
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The east-west boundaries of the project run from the east side of Huntersville Elementary School on Gilead Road to Maxwell Avenue, just east of Town Hall on Huntersville-Concord Road, Ferguson said.
Its north-south boundaries extend from the north side of Cashion’s Quik Stop to the north edge of Huntersville Fire Department No. 1, along N.C. 115/Old Statesville Road.
Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain said the aesthetics of the project are the most important benefit. “This will make the downtown look cleaner, more updated and will help to show our commitment to truly making the downtown a destination,” Swain said.
“That should, in turn, increase investment interest. For now though, it just looks lovely, and that’s enough for me.”
AT&T began taking the lines down in late October, and Swain said citizens are already noticing the difference. “I was so excited that I went out and hugged the workers,” she said.
Work on removing the lines has been done during the day, Ferguson said, and it had little impact on traffic. But officials with AT&T did not respond to requests for information about what time of day the pole removal would take place and what effect it might have on vehicle flow.
But because of the existing network of duct bank placed in 2010, no digging is required for the project, Ferguson said, noting AT&T techs can access the underground system through manholes.
The cost of the line relocation and pole removal is being handled by AT&T, though officials did not comment on the amount. Ferguson said the only cost to the town will be for concrete, to fill the pavement squares where the poles will be removed. He estimated it would cost less than $2,000.
Though weather could delay the process, Ferguson said town officials have been told the project would be finished by the end of November.
“We’re happy to see the project getting wrapped up.”