Yes, part of West Third Street will be closed Monday. Here’s why.

Published 8:14 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

FARMVILLE – Parts of West Third Street will be closed on Monday, as Farmville work crews try a new way to replace the damaged traffic pole on North Street. 

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. 

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“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’ll bring a crane over to West Third Street on Monday and turn the existing pole that’s left at the intersection. The plan is 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. 

As for what part of West Third will be closed Monday? It’s the section between North Main Street and Saint George Street in Farmville. Work on turning the traffic pole will start around 8 a.m. and Davis said it’ll remain closed until the work is finished. 

More to do around West Third Street 

Now to be clear, once the pole is turned on Monday and fully installed in its new position, that doesn’t mean everything will be 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.