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DANGER! Rotten light poles ahead

Published:Tuesday | December 2, 2014 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer Decayed Jamaica Public service poles on North Street between East and King Streets in downtown Kingston.


Rotten light poles ahead

JPS to remove 3,000 ? old poles in 2015

Thousands of aged, decayed and damaged utility posts, dangerously poised and endangering lives, are to be replaced next year by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

At least 100 are located in downtown Kingston along some of the city?s busiest thoroughfares.

Persons traversing North Street, in the vicinity of Church and Orange streets, seem most at risk, as metal posts, erected decades ago, appear ready to fall as their bases show signs of ageing and decay.

A close examination of the poles with wires ? which JPS says are harmless ? had varying stages of deterioration, with some kept upright by the smallest piece of metal.

Last week, JPS said all the decayed metal poles in downtown Kingston would be removed by next year.

The company said they are among thousands of old poles to be removed in its yearly purge of damaged or decaying light posts.

?The poles are owned by JPS and it is our responsibility to maintain them. They are actually retired and scheduled for removal. The wires are not high-voltage electrical lines. Most of them are cables belonging to telecoms providers and cable operators,? said JPS in response to questions from The Gleaner.

According to the company, the removal and replacement of the poles is part of its normal operating procedure.

?Each year, the company replaces at least 3,000 poles across the island. There are approximately 100 metal posts in the downtown area slated for removal in 2015,? JPS said, without giving an exact date for the start of the process.

The death of one person, killed after being hit by a falling light post in St Catherine, remains the subject of investigations by JPS and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Residents have blamed JPS and CHEC ? the latter which was said to be conducting blasting in the area ? for weakening the structure of the post.

It is unclear if CHEC has accepted liability, but the JPS said it was not responsible for the incident.