City utilities workers spent much of the day Tuesday replacing decaying telephone poles that support electric wires near the post office in Laurinburg.
The replacement of aging and rotten poles has been going on for the past three year as part of an ongoing preventative maintenance project by the Laurinburg Electric Utilities Department, overseen by Director Robert Smith.
“We’ve probably replaced 2,200 poles in the last three years,” Smith said of the project.
According to Smith, wooden utility poles like the ones replaced near the post office have a lifespan ranging from 20-30 years.
“The plan is to replace (the utility poles) before they ever become a problem,” Smith said.
City officials also said that work by Progress Energy to replace the breaker system at the large city electric substation on West Boulevard concluded without a hitch on Sunday.
The work was finalized during a scheduled 30 minute power outage at 6 a.m. – the second such outage in the past two weeks.
That same upgrade operation also led to an unplanned outage of the entire city grid last Friday which resulted in all of Scotland County Schools being released early. Power went out for about an hour around noon that day when the temporary breaker system that the city grid had been switched to was tripped by an unknown event.
Interim City Manager Harold Haywood said that the city was switched back to the upgraded permanent breaker system on Sunday.
“We are back operating on our normal system now, so there will be more stability,” Haywood said. “(City electric utilities staff) were also able to take care of some repair work of their own while Progress Energy was working.”
Thanks to the upgrade work performed by both Progress Energy and the city, Haywood said that Laurinburg “should be in good shape for a long while” with regard to capacity and stability.