Utility poles could be falling down

Residents fear a hazardous condition along West Broadway

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While Five Towns residents, particularly those who live along and near West Broadway, one of the area’s main roadways, wait for roadwork scheduled for this year to begin, another potentially hazardous eyesore has emerged. Utility poles, posted alongside newer poles, originally an ugly redundancy, have become a possible public danger as their bases have splintered.

The recent storms have exasperated the issue, as some poles have had to be lashed to their neighbor in order to remain intact. Ahron Rosenthal, a co-chair of the West Broadway Committee, a group of residents who have been campaigning to have the thoroughfare renovated, posted on Facebook, “This pole (by Cedarhurst Avenue) and all the other broken poles need to be addressed. This is an issue that predates the [Jan. 4] nor’easter and has been brought up for legislation to force the power, internet and cable companies to fix their poles.”

Reading the West Broadway Committee Facebook page has post after post showing utility poles in various states of disrepair, only occasionally interrupted by a photo of a particularly bad pothole or a car accident. A post showed workers from PSEG Long Island removing the top portion of a pole at the intersection of West Broadway and Cedarhurst Avenue. The large section of the pole and its splintered base has remained.

“The last company to move their facilities off the pole is responsible for removing it,” said Elizabeth Flagler, a spokeswoman for PSEG. “There are still some facilities left on the pole, likely from the cable company. Our wires are up high, cable and phone companies’ wires are lower.”

Having seen the work be done, but being left with a large piece of utility pole lashed to another was frustrating for Rosenthal. “This should not be standard practice,” he posted on Facebook, including a photo of the pole.

Verizon, which was seen taking down a pole at the intersection of West Broadway and Mosher Avenue on Feb. 28, did not respond for comment by press time.

The West Broadway Committee has made keeping the street they live on safe their primary concern. By repairing the roadway, fixing the sidewalks, restoring the cubs and removing the double utility poles, they hope to make their neighborhood a safer place.

“A fallen utility pole can crush or electrocute a person or pet, destroy a home or vehicle, and block a major roadway used by emergency responders and tens of thousands of residents and commuters. Aside from being dangerous, this “quick fix” is a shocking disregard for the safety of local residents,” the West Broadway Committee posted on its Facebook page. “Our local elected officials and public utilities must enact tougher utility pole regulations to make our neighborhoods safer.”

Have an opinion on the conditions along West Broadway? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.