Missouri considers burying Columbia power lines

Mar 06, 2002 01:00 AM

At the Feb. 4 Columbia City Council meeting, Hindman directed staff to find out how much it would cost to bury all of the city's power lines. The answer -- provided in a report from Water and Light Director Dick Malon that the council will hear -- is at least $ 142 mm. While what he proposed was a major capital project, Hindman said that wasn't necessarily his intent.
"The goal is to make it so that our streets can, to the extent possible, be free of power lines," he said. "I think that people have a right, basically, to have streets that are tree-lined and that are attractive streets.... That is our overall goal."
The report says it would cost $ 142 mm to bury the city's 300 miles of power lines, though that would not eliminate poles or wires because the city can't force other utility companies to bury their lines. On the question of how to pay for the project, the report says the city could sell bonds, which would boost the overall price to $ 284 mm, or raise electric rates by as much as 10 %. It also recommends hiring a consultant to create a plan for implementation. The plan would cost about $ 500,000.

Hindman said he's not in favour of issuing bonds or raising rates. He said he doesn't think every single line needs to be buried; he just wants the city to look at burying power lines when areas are redeveloped.
He points to new poles going up around the city's recreation centre, the new library and other places where the city has an opportunity to bury lines at a lower cost. "This should be a primary goal that's taken into consideration every time we do any" redevelopment, Hindman said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Loveless said the city might want to consider certain areas where lines are least attractive and bury those first. "Business Loop 70 is not the most attractive road because of the massive poles," he said. "It might be that there's a section where reconstruction is going on and we can bury lines at less cost."

Source: Columbia Daily Tribune
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