County Supervisors vote to move Sisk Avenue AT&T lines underground

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Residents can expect more workers on Sisk Avenue in the coming weeks after the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors meeting this morning.

County Engineer Larry Britt presented a proposal for AT&T to move their lines off the Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association poles, where they are currently located. According to Britt, this decision is the result of meetings to prepare for more construction on Sisk Avenue.

Originally, AT&T planned to stay on the poles, but after examining the costs, found it would be more cost-effective to move their lines underground, if the county and city would contract it.

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“Their proposal was, if we would put in the contract, the contractor would lay three conduit pipes and one trench, they would go underground and get off of Northeast’s poles, and in that agreement, the cost to the county, if we lay the conduit, would be $33,959.88, which is less than the other option,” Britt said. “In order to get that done, we’ve got to do a couple of things. One is to reach an agreement with AT&T that the county and city will each pay their share of the $33,959.88. The other will be that we’ll come back with a change order to lay that conduit.”

Britt went on to say that the city had indicated they would possibly furnish the conduit, but that is not confirmed.

Supervisor Kevin Frye questioned whether or not the measure was truly cost effective.

“So we might end up paying more than we would have if they’d just left it on the poles?”  Frye said.

In addition to the $33,995.88 cost of moving the lines themselves, the cost for the contractor will also need to be paid. However, this cost is still projected to be less than the cost of staying on the poles. While most of the NEMEPA lines are already underground in that particular area, the lines in question are still above ground.

Randall Ables, with NEMEPA, says moving the remaining Sisk Avenue lines underground is dependent upon the roads, and that people can expect them to start moving poles in the next few months.

“Northeast Power will move their lines underground when the roads are to grade,” Ables said.

During the meeting Britt said the situation is, at the moment, a little bit of a waiting game, but AT&T’s work could start “when the weather clears up.”

“Northeast Power has given us advice to move the poles, so they’re going to have to move those before we can start the grading on the road,” he said. “The line is on those poles. So it’s a chicken and egg thing. AT&T’s either got to follow them or have another plan, and their plan is to move underground.”

The agreement was approved, aside from one section of the contract pertaining to liability.

Other items approved at the meeting were:

  • Preliminary approval for phase 2 of Pebble Creek subdivision, without dam repair
  • Preliminary and Final Commercial Plat for the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship Building.  
  • Approval of the Metro Interlocal Agreement with the City and University, pending city approval tonight.