Burial of power lines in a tiny portion of Greenville’s commercial corridors could begin this fall, nearly six years after an ice storm crippled the region and left some portions of the city in the cold and dark for up to a week.
Power lines on portions of Camperdown Way and Haywood Road will be buried and power poles in two sections of Augusta Road will be relocated under a city program designed to prevent widespread outages.
Work on power line burials will start in the fall and be completed by July 2012.
“Yay, we’re spending money,” said Councilwoman Gaye Sprague after hearing the proposal Monday afternoon.
Duke Energy customers in the city have been paying an average $1 a month more on their electric bills since July 2008.
But no power lines in commercial areas have been buried yet and 474 homes have had their service lines put underground.
Last year, bids to bury power lines on Haywood Road from the mall to Kanpai Japanese restaurant came in at as much as $2.5 million plus Duke’s equipment cost of $1.1 million, which was at least twice as much as the city had in its power line burial fund at the time.
Instead, the city will bury power lines on Camperdown Way from South Main Street to River Street, including Rhett Street, at a cost of $900,000 and a sliver of Haywood Road from Wells Fargo to Toys”R”Us at a cost of $1 million.
Power poles on one side of Augusta Street from Lupo to Capers streets and at Augusta Street and Faris Road will be moved, Murphy said.
Each of those projects is expected to cost $100,000.
“Undergrounding is not possible in some areas,” Murphy said.
On Augusta, he said, the biggest cause of losing power isn’t downed trees; instead, it’s vehicles running into power poles because they are so close to the road, he said.
The new poles, which will be installed behind the businesses, will be taller than the ones being used now, he said.
The city had considered putting power lines on Church Street in conjunction with a major road project there but decided it didn’t have the money. The city cannot borrow money for undergrounding projects, said City Manager John Castile.
A total of 584 homeowners have canceled their requests for reasons as varied as they didn’t want their landscaping torn up, the cost was greater than the city’s $1,500 subsidy and because their electric service was already underground.
Another 501 homeowners are waiting for Duke to assess their requests.