Mount Pleasant explores changing newly installed utility poles

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - It's known as an All American City, but some people say the massive utility poles and power lines you see when entering Mount Pleasant just don't fit that image. The poles are right at the foot of the Ravenel Bridge to Lansing Drive as you enter Mount Pleasant on Coleman Boulevard.

SCE&G Power Company presented an alternative plan to the current look of the utility poles, but after hearing the cost to change just one of the poles, town council members say the project is out of the budget.

Co-owners of Tidewater Executive Center and Wedding Chapel on Coleman Boulevard say one of the poles is blocking their business.

"People with drive by business just can't see us. It hides us. You have a wedding and people walk in with their nice clothes and they have to walk by these big old poles, it takes away from the spirit of things," Broadus Thompson said.

Town officials say these "eyesores" have prompted a discussion between town council members and SCE&G on options to change the look of the poles and bring a small town, main-street atmosphere to the area.

SCE&G has proposed a $300,000 project to bury some of the lines, decrease the height of the pole by ten feet, and change it out for a sleeker, galvanized pole.

"Sometimes it's easier to move a sign than move a structure, but we'll look at it. That's the nature of our company we're going to try to look for solutions," SCE&G electric service manager Danny Kassis said.

The $300,000 price tag would be split between the town and SCE&G. For now, town council members on the finance committee say they want to hear more options.

"We gave them some suggestions to go back and consider with their engineers, maybe painting the poles, maybe landscaping around the poles," Town Finance Committee Chair Elton Carrier said. "We're always looking out for Coleman Boulevard. We want it to be our Main Street. We want it to look pretty and acceptable to the public."

The towers are so big because they carry distribution and transmission lines to power the town.

There are 13 poles total in Mount Pleasant. Installation just finished up in April, replacing several wood utility poles.

Officials say two years ago proposals to bury the lines completely would have cost Mount Pleasant and SCE&G at least $5 million dollars.

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