Press Club

Lonely Utility Pole Protruding Into Columbia Pike to Come Down Soon

The lonely utility pole at Columbia Pike and S. Frederick Street (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A lonely utility pole protruding into the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Frederick Street is expected to come down by the end of the year, a county official tells ARLnow.

Last fall, a permanent traffic signal was installed at the intersection of S. Frederick Street and Columbia Pike near Arlington Mill. The work was part of the Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements project to make the thoroughfare more friendly to all users.

It was also in response to a long-time request from residents and advocates to improve the safety of the intersection, which had become notorious for crashes and accidents, some involving pedestrians.

Along with the new traffic signals, the driveway to Arbor Heights — an affordable housing complex with an entrance right off Columbia Pike — was rebuilt to align with S. Frederick Street, Department of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet said. The previous horseshoe driveway had a cement island with a strip of sidewalk and the utility pole. The island was removed, leaving the errant utility pole, which now sits several feet from the sidewalk in the road.

The pole is surrounded by bollards and Balliet said the county has not received any complaints about it being dangerous or blocking traffic. ARLnow did receive a tip about it from a concerned motorist, however.

That pole is coming down soon as utilities move underground, he says. A new underground duct bank was built as part of the street improvement project and the utility companies will use it to bury their lines.

Most of the lines could be taken underground by the end of the month, according to the project’s most recent update on the website.

Comcast, Dominion Energy and Verizon all have overhead wires on the utility pole at S. Frederick Street and Columbia Pike, a county official confirms.

Comcast has started this process and began removing wires last week, while Dominion also began the switchover last week and is removing its overhead wires this week. Verizon is currently applying for permits, according to the county, and work will begin once those permits are issued.

Once all the companies take down their wires, the pole will be removed.

The entire switchover from overhead to underground wiring and the removal of all utility poles along the Pike from S. Jefferson Street to the Four Mile Run Bridge is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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