Powerlines hang from a powerpole along Haywood Road in Greenville. (June 15, 2012/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Nearly seven years after an ice storm left many Greenville residents without power for more than a week, crews have started burying powerlines to help prevent similar disasters in the future.
In 2005, a winter storm left trees and powerlines across the western Carolinas weighted down with a thick coating of ice. Those trees then fell on the powerlines, knocking out power to thousands of homes.
Since then, Greenville city leaders and utility companies have been working together to implement a plan to bury the city's powerlines. On Friday, the first phase of that project began along Haywood Road.
The $1.4 million project along one of the busiest roads in Greenville includes the installation of an electrical duct system, and a new mast-arm signal at the intersection of Haywood and Woods Lake roads.
Lane closures and lane shifts will happen between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. during construction. Despite the inconvenience to drivers, officials said the project is a necessity.
"The program is a multi-phase, multi-purpose program," said Greenville Public Works Director Michael Murphy. "There's the public safety issue - trees falling on the overhead powerlines. There's also kind of a secondary issue to it, and that's the aesthetics of getting rid of the overhead clutter."
The city is shouldering 60 percent of the cost of the project, while Duke Energy is making up the remaining 40 percent.
Similar projects are planned for a section of Augusta Road and the Camperdown area in downtown.
The Haywood Road project is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 1.
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