LEWISTON — In the end, it comes down to pure physics.

An oddly bowed utility pole on Ash Street has generated a buzz of comments and concerns from the public, according to city officials.

The pole, standing between Shawmut and Howe streets, presents an odd spectacle, with its middle seeming to bulge out over Ash Street.

It will be replaced, city officials say. In the meantime, it’s unlikely to snap or buckle under the strain of its curvature.

“The reason the pole looks like that,” according to Denis R. Caron, electrical superintendent of the city’s streetlight division, “is because the conductors cross the road at that location. A crossing like that puts a great deal of force on the pole, trying to pull it across the street. Meanwhile an anchor and guy wire are installed at the back of the pole to prevent the force from pulling the pole across the street —that’s why the pole looks like a bow.”

During the latter part of the week, public reaction to the deformed pole generated a flurry of conversation between city officials and various utility companies. As it turns out, the pole is owned by internet provider Consolidated Communications.

According to Caron, it was agreed that the pole should be replaced, although Central Maine Power on Friday was still working on the timeline.

“We will send our field planners out to determine any design work needed,” said CMP spokesperson Catharine Hartnett, “and will work on resetting as soon as Consolidated is ready.”

Is it safe in the meantime? Caron is pretty sure it is.

“Wood is very resilient when the bowing takes place over a long period of time, like that one has,” he said.

Scenic attraction or safety hazard? Lewiston’s bent pole on Ash Street. (Submitted photo)


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