Farmville staff look at new solution for North Street light problem

Published 1:17 am Monday, November 13, 2023

Since September, Farmville residents have messaged and emailed The Herald, asking about the North Street light issue. Specifically, they want to know when the lights at the intersection of North and Third streets will be fixed. After exploring a number of options, Public Works Director Bill Caldwell has a plan, one that interestingly enough, doesn’t involve getting a replacement light at all. 

“Bill Caldwell and his staff have been working with (the Richard Whalen Company),” said Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis. “Between the two of them, they’ve come up with a way to use the existing pole. The goal is to actually turn the existing pole that’s left (at the intersection), turn it around to where it will function (like the previous one) and we won’t have to find a new pole.” 

As a reminder, at 7:53 a.m. on Sept. 27, the Farmville Police Department received a call about a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of North and Third streets. At the scene, they found a single vehicle, a Hummer, had crashed into a traffic light, causing the attached pole to fall into the roadway. That pole has since been removed. 

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There’s no timeline for how long this will take, although Davis said the hope is that it would be faster than the other two options. 

Other North Street light options

Option two would be finding a replacement pole, either the exact or similar size to the original, so they could just plug it into the system already there. But so far, the town staff hasn’t had luck in finding one to fit. Currently they have a hole cut into the pavement, designed to fit a specific size pole. Then below that, the wiring, where you plug into the town’s electrical system, is also designed for a specific size. Imagine someone damaged the light fixture in your kitchen’s ceiling. You can’t just replace it with a random piece. It has to fit what was there before. It’s the same situation here. 

Option three would be to get a new pole, remove existing engineered base under the sidewalk, and install a new engineered base specific to the new pole. That’s more time consuming and expensive. Again, going back to the kitchen example. If you can’t find a replacement that fits, you have to make the light fixture fit the piece you did find.