HAVERHILL — In 2008, Verizon told city officials they were going to start removing double utility poles that line several city streets.
At the time, a spokesman said the company had removed 186 such poles in the previous year, in response to complaints from residents and city officials who said the double poles are ugly, and that only 106 remained.
Today, there are more of the double poles than ever before — 245 to be exact, according to Verizon — and more are on the way. Most are overrun with wires and electrical equipment. Some are leaning and look like they are about to topple.
The poles are used to replace or reinforce old or deteriorated poles because, in most cases, it is cheaper than removing the old pole and replacing it with a new single one.
A recent tour of a South Main Street and several nearby roads revealed dozens of double poles, many of them new. Late last week, cews were spotted installing two new poles to add to the double pole situation.
Stephanie Lee, Verizon's governmental affairs liaison, said there are about 245 double poles in the city and 125 have been installed in the last year due to a power upgrade project by National Grid. The electric company uses Verizon's poles to provide power to homes and businesses.
Lee said Verizon has been talking to Mayor James Fiorentini and fire Chief Richard Borden recently about how to alleviate "the double pole situation in Haverhill." She said removing an old pole is a complicated and time-consuming process because lines that accommodate electricity, fire alarms, street lights and cable and phone service must all be taken down by different carriers before a pole can be removed.
"While we are committed to continuing to work together on reducing double poles in Haverhill, you may be aware that National Grid has plans to continue to upgrade the electrical system within the city, which will require the placement of many more additional poles over the next year," Lee said in an email to the City Council.