Power poles are going up in front of new apartments in Lake Wylie, and local leaders aren’t happy about it.
York County Councilwoman Allison Love posted photos Wednesday on her Facebook page of several poles being installed in front of new apartments on Charlotte Highway. She called the decision to put them there — instead of burying the utilities — “disappointing” and “indicative of someone not caring,” saying she might understand the decision if it were 1975.
“I can tell you that I guarantee those of us who live here and have to look at it feel the same about it,” Love wrote. “Unhappy!”
The 30 comments from community members within an hour of the post, agreed. Many called the poles “hideous,” “horrible,” “ugly” and “terrible.” One commented concern that drivers would crash into the poles, as happens from time to time at the front wall and entrance sign at nearby Village at Lake Wylie apartments.
Another commenter said it was “traffic hell” while they were installed on the busy S.C. 49. Another said similar poles were going up near All Saints Catholic Church on SC 274.
Love and Susan Bromfield, president of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, sent messages to a Duke Energy asking what could be done.
“I am appalled that these power lines are going right in front of the new apartments on Highway 49,” Love said. “This is the most embarrassing and disappointing thing I’ve seen and it looks like we’ve gone back to 1975. What in the world can be done so that we do not have to look at this?”
“This is outrageous,” she said. “Can’t you get this handled so this is not an eyesore (in a gateway buffer)?”
Ryan Mosier, spokesperson for Duke, confirmed the polls are Duke’s.
“The poles in question are necessary to serve the new growth in the region,” he said. “The development being constructed there and a sewer lift station are what is driving the specific need for these poles.”
The development itself will have underground power lines, but the above ground poles are needed to make it happen, Mosier said.
“All underground must start with an overhead pole,” he said. “There was an existing pole already there, so we are able to work from that spot.”
There are four poles, but one will be removed once the power installation project is complete.
“The other alternative at this location would have been to string wire across Highway 49 at multiple locations and then go overhead to a similar pole as these, meaning more poles and wire crossing Highway 49,” Mosier said. “Converting overhead infrastructure to underground is an expensive process and requires the use of manholes, using concrete-encased conduit and other special equipment.”
In high traffic areas, like this location, the alternatives can be problematic.
“This process can be disruptive, especially if this work is conducted in high-traffic areas where we have infrastructure in public rights of way,” Mosier said.
In a later post, Love said she heard from Duke and the company will try not to work at the site during rush hour.