Friendsville church members relieved to have splintered utility pole removed

Investigations

FRIENDSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Have you ever wondered why sometimes it takes so long to replace a broken utility pole? There is a good reason.

However, is eight months an unreasonable amount of time to wait?

Some church members in Friendsville called WATE about a damaged utility pole next to their parking lot.

If there is a utility pole in your community that is damaged and you believe it needs repair, there is a procedure to follow.

Call the utility company in your area, and give them the exact address of the pole and information regarding the damage.

If the pole is owned by your local utility company, and if there are lines on the pole owned by another provider, a call is made to that utility.

As folks discovered in Friendsville, it can sometimes take a while before repairs are made.

The damaged pole in front of First Baptist Church of Friendsville was split in half July 4, 2019, and for months residents have asked to have the broken pole replaced fearing someone might get hurt.

“This, this was leaning over. A car had hit it. They had a rope tied to the pole they had replaced and a rope tied to this one to keep it from potentially falling. But after eight months, they had more than enough time to get it completed.”

Ron Jarvis – Church Member

Kids from Friendsville School would walk by the pole every day but it wasn’t until recently that work to remove the pole began.

At 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 6, the broken utility pole looked the same way it has for eight months, but by 2:30 p.m. the pole was gone, much to the relief of concerned church members.

An AT&T line crew was called to the church Friday morning and just before 11 a.m. the first utility crew arrived on Farnum Street.

“AT&T was here probably at 11. They came off another job at Maryville. So, they interrupted a job to come over here. When I started mentioning your name today that you were coming out to do a piece on this, then everybody was anxious to get something done. We’re near a school here as you can see. Kids walk by this way. Our cars coming in and out of the church entrance all the time. If that had snapped and let loose, it could have hit a child, it could have hit a car.”

Kay Bateman – Church Member

By noon, AT&T had removed the lines that belonged to the utility. The pole was now in two pieces.

“Still a lot of splinters and still a lot of danger right there. Hopefully that won’t be there long. Fort Loudoun assures me they have a work order to quickly come out and pull it.”

Kay Bateman

Once they got word that utility lines from their pole were clear, a crew from Fort Loudoun Electric pulled up. As members of the church watched, it didn’t take long for the crew from the electric utility company to remove the pole.

“AT&T and Comacast had to come and move their wires before Fort Loudoun could come and move their pole. They’re allowed to set a new pole, but they are not allowed to touch another utilities equipment that is mounted to these poles. Technically it really wasn’t safe. Did I think the pole was going to fall? No. Was it an eyesore? Yes. Did it need to be replaced? Yes.”

Andy Lawhorn – Friendsville Mayor

By 2:30 p.m. Friday, the job was done and everyone was relieved.

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