Magnolia Springs and Riviera Utilities reach agreement on Oak Street utilities

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 6/2/20

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - After months of discussion, the Town of Magnolia Springs and Riviera Utilities are moving forward on the Oak Street electricity project. Back in February, discussions were held …

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Magnolia Springs and Riviera Utilities reach agreement on Oak Street utilities

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MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - After months of discussion, the Town of Magnolia Springs and Riviera Utilities are moving forward on the Oak Street electricity project. Back in February, discussions were held suggesting switching to underground utilities along the section of Oak Street approximately from Jessamine to Bay. Many citizens of Magnolia Springs were concerned for the safety of the trees if underground utilities were installed, as placing the utilities would require boring into the ground around the trees’ roots.

“Riviera Utilities has been working on trying to find a solution for our trees on that section of Oak Street since we met at the beginning of February,” said Mayor Kim Koniar. “They’ve come up with a system called a spacer cable system, which means we will not have underground utilities in that section and we will not have to trim as much in that area.”

Spacer cable systems are overhead, hanging wires that have been in use for years. The cables are insulated, making them resilient to tension, storm damage, and falling limbs, as may occur on Oak Street. System strength allows for spans of up to 1,500 feet, making them ideal for spanning rivers, lakes, marshes, and tree heavy areas, allowing for a more environmentally friendly solution.

The cable’s insulated exterior is able to withstand contact with tree branches or strong winds, resulting in fewer power outages. This is a primary reason the system has been suggested for Oak Street: stronger cables mean less trimming of trees.

The project is in Riviera Utilities’ next fiscal year budget, which will begin on July 1. The final details are still being worked out, meaning Magnolia Springs is not aware if they will need to pitch in monetary funds at this time.

“This prevents us from installing underground utilities on Oak Street and all the poles will remain the same along the street,” said Koniar. “We won’t be doing any digging or boring, and we won’t have to trim so much in that area, so this is going to be really good. It’s a huge spacer cable so you’ll probably be able to see them through the trees, at least some, but it’s going to be better than going underground.”

The concern bringing about talk of underground utilities was if continued trimming and pruning would cause more damage to the trees in the long run as opposed to underground utilities. The council feels the spacer cable system meets the major concerns of all parties.

For more information, visit www.townofmagnoliasprings.org.