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Bury utility lines

So this is a little eccentric, but Huntsville has a lot of eye pollution. Perhaps burying power lines is a solution.

Maybe start with all new lines and progress to burying all lines. that would remove almost all the unsightly visual pollution along the parkway and major roads.

Submitted by 1 year ago

Comments (5)

  1. Moderator

    I love the idea, though it can often be prohibitively expensive to do so (and in some cases precluded by geography/geology/hydrology). It might be a target of opportunity. Another option that is somewhat less expensive and can be implemented in phases is relocation. Move the lines to the backs of lots, away from the traveled corridors. You create a separate infrastructure spine, out of view but still accessible. Challenges exist for this approach as well, but cleaning up visual clutter definitely warrants discussion and investigation...

    1 year ago
  2. jca

    This idea of burying lines is about more than eye pollution. As anyone who lives in areas like Five Points knows, every other year the city (and TVA) sends out tree trimming crews that absolutely decimate trees around power lines in many neighborhoods. Trees older than the houses surrounding them have been killed outright. Obviously the city does this to try to prevent power outages due to rain/ice/snow weighing down tree limbs and taking out power lines. The problem is all this clear cutting through the area does little to prevent power outages. Five Points still loses power in any kind of bad weather, despite all the trees being cut. Moving power lines anywhere else above ground (as suggested above) won't work because it's not a cost saving compromise and power lines are in danger from the trees around them, not whether they are on a street or back lot. Power lines already run through back lots in many areas anyway.

    Why can't all the money spent on tree trimming, utility repairs, and all those man-hours be directed to starting the process of burying power lines? The city has spent years and so much money talking about improving these areas, which in the case of Five Points, means the city put up a handful of "old style" street lights around Star Market and called it a day.

    Why not spend money on burying cables now, and stop spending more money in the long run on the clear cutting through neighborhoods?

    1 year ago
  3. Moderator

    I'm no fan of the inelegant cutting of trees, but relocation is in fact a viable, cost-effective alternative that's been pursued in other municipalities. However, it - like utility burial itself - is context-sensitive. It will work in some areas (particular large-lot development like that which lines the Parkway) where there is already some sort of infrastructural consideration to the rear (like parking, or loading docks, or retention areas) but is more of a challenge in smaller-scale developments (like historic commercial cores and residential avenues). There is, alas, no single ideal solution. And while I think that, cost aside, burial is preferable is most cases, it is profoundly expensive - much more so than the odious trimming we see - and is not always a guarantee of uninterrupted service.

    In short, I think we'd all agree that the current power infrastructure could be more reliable (though coming from Atlanta, I have to say I've had very little to complain about in terms of service, relative to where I used to live) and less visually apparent... but we're going to have to look at multiple solutions.

    1 year ago
  4. I completely agree. Retrofitting old areas is probably cost prohibitive, but at a minimum all new development, whether it be residential, commercial or major road projects, should require underground utilities. I recall when they redid the intersection of 72 and Slaughter, we waited almost a year for relocated power poles to go up. I don't see anyway those new power poles being installed cost more than trenching and relocating that intersection's wires underground.

    1 year ago
  5. Thanks, moderators, for the comments. I agree. No matter the method, the most important thing is to address the utility visuals somehow.

    1 year ago

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    1 year ago