Somebody had a bad night on Buena Vista Road recently, and it's apt to cost him some cash.
A couple of Alert Readers have called to report a leaning utility pole in a stretch of Buena Vista that runs past the old school district headquarters. You know, the stretch that everybody thinks is still 13th Avenue.
Just up the hill from the vacant lot that used to be the school building, someone smacked a utility pole hard enough to snap it almost in two. The buckled pole is now leaning out over Buena Vista and is being held in place with a stout length of heavy nylon rope, tied off to a metal fencepost with some pretty impressive Boy Scout-grade knots.
I called my friend Robert Watkins at Georgia Power, because it is a power company pole. He said he'd get someone out there right away to look at it.
Then he called me back a few minutes later with an explanation. It turns out Georgia Power was aware of the pole problems and had gone out the night it was hit and secured it with the rope. Nice knots, Sparky!
The reason they didn't plant a new pole next to it right away is because poles in that particular spot on the curve keep getting hit and damaged. Repeatedly. So Georgia Power is looking into moving the pole farther from the road to keep from having to replace it so often.
That involves dealing with property owners and acquiring more right-of-way and can even involve condemnation procedures, which take time.
But Watkins said they would revisit the site and see if they might need to go ahead and put up a new pole while they work on moving to a safer spot.
Readers might want to know that hitting and breaking a utility pole can cost you some serious money, aside from probably having totaled your car. Replacing a very simple pole that has just one line on it will cost the errant driver about $1,000, Watkins told me. Hitting a larger "switch pole" that might require 10 workers in a couple of trucks and many hours to repair will raise the bill to several thousand bucks.
And if you smack one of those huge concrete transmission line poles hard enough to damage it, that will cost you -- or more likely your estate -- around $25,000. So drive carefully out there.
Good news for drivers over in the Brennan Road and Aldridge Road area that we wrote about last week. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson read the column and put the gears of governance in motion. Long story short, Deputy City Manager David Arrington got involved, as did city engineer Farhad Alifarhani.
It turns out to be a Georgia Southwestern line (as a couple of my Alert Retired Railroad Readers advised last week). So the city contacted Georgia Southwestern (which I thought was a university) and officials there confirmed that they had done some repairs to the crossings a few years ago. If those repairs have deteriorated (and they have), they assured the city they would come back and do a more permanent repair job.
For the record, they city can't legally make those or any other repairs within a railroad right-of-way. That's the law.
Meanwhile, we'll keep an eye on the rail crossings.