Utility poles stand when cash is tight

I live right off of North Ross Lane, and I appreciated the story regarding the upcoming changes to that road. But, what I want to know is why in the world would they put up telephone poles and not bury the lines like every modern construction project? The poles are unsightly, can be knocked down by storms and they block vision. What gives?

— Patty, Medford

It all comes down to money, Patty. Getting rid of those unsightly poles just wasn't part of the $5.5 million budget.

"If a government agency wants to put them underground, a government agency has to pay to put them underground," said Jackson County engineer Mike Kuntz.

He said it is rare on these type of projects to put the utilities underground because the cost can be considerably higher, though it is relatively common in new subdivisions.

A one-mile stretch of Ross from West McAndrews Road to Rossanley Drive is being widened during an 18-month closure that began in April and will continue for 18 months.

Roadwork will begin 700 feet north of West Main Street and continue to Rossanley Drive (Highway 238), a distance of just more than a mile. Two lanes for traffic will be built with a continuous turn lane down the middle. A new traffic signal will be installed at Ross Lane and McAndrews Road.

By the way, Patty, you'll be getting some lovely sidewalks as part of the project, so maybe that will help you learn to co-exist with those unsightly poles.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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