Work continues on North Street light

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A traffic light at the corner of West Third and North streets should be up and functional within a few months. Work continued on the project Monday, as Farmville Public Works staff brought in a crane and tried a new way to repair the problem. 

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. 

So how do you solve the problem? It’s not as simple as just going to the supply store and buying a new pole. 

Email newsletter signup

“Those are 1992, 1993 era poles,” said Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis, pointing out those old versions aren’t made anymore. “The new ones have different engineering for the substructure, the base. If we tried to get a new pole, it would take a lot more time to try and find the parts.” 

Instead, Davis credits Farmville Public Works Director Bill Caldwell for coming up with another solution. Working with the Richardson-Wayland Electrical Company, they brought a crane over to West Third Street on Monday and turned the existing pole that’s left at the intersection. The goal was to turn it around where it will function like the previous one. 

“With us being able to use the existing pole, it’s a lot less time needed to get that fixed,” Davis said. 

STILL MORE TO DO 

Now to be clear, since the pole is turned and fully installed in its new position, that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. 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, hence there’s still more material Public Works needs to get. Davis said that included sensors and other items to connect the pole both to the traffic light and the wires running underneath. 

While it’ll still take time, it should be finished by summer, Davis said. 

“The intention is to get that back operational in the next three to six months,” he added.