City officials said they are not absorbing the cost to repair any of the 370, 250-watt lights if motorists careen into them as they traverse the thoroughfare. The poles each cost about $2,200, which includes installation.
Right now, when a pole is toppled — as three have been since they were installed — the contractor repairs them and sends the bill to the city, which then forwards the bill to the person responsible for the damage.
“This is the standard procedure that has been in place for decades,” Mayor Bill Grace said. “Light poles and guardrails are typically what motorists will hit and we have always gone after them or their insurance company. This is nothing new.”
For now, the Shelley Co., which served as the primary contractor on the Route 57 rehabilitation, still has control of the project, which it will keep until spring or early summer because there still is some work the city wants completed.
When the project is done, the city will bear the responsibility of repairing the poles. Extra light poles have been purchased and are stored at the city’s central maintenance garage so repairs can be done by the Communications Department if needed.
The poles are roughly 160 feet apart, and since they were erected in the summer of 2009, three poles and a pole base have been toppled by cars, said Mukund Moghe, the city’s engineer.
Despite expectations by some residents who predicted that the poles — which went up in an area of the highway that didn’t have them before — would result in more accidents, the poles are not coming down at an unusually high rate, he said.
“All except one were the result of drunk drivers, so I would say that is not unusual,” Moghe said.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.