NSTAR agrees to move Beach Road utility poles

The short term plan would be to move the utilility poles that now protrude into the road across the street, presenting a hazard to car mirrors and pedestrians. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Officials from NSTAR met with with a group of Tisbury town officials near Five Corners Thursday afternoon to discuss the removal of four telephone poles on Beach Road, between Water Street and Main Street. The poles protrude into the roadway and are a longstanding safety hazard, amputating many passenger side mirrors.

“We can definitely move them, absolutely,” Carol Kennedy, chief NSTAR engineer for the Island for the past four and a half years, told town leaders.

Tisbury and NSTAR have been at odds recently over the installation of new, larger replacement poles along Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. Tisbury successfully referred the pole project for review as a development of regional impact to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Jeff Kristal, chairman of the Tisbury selectman, has used the issue of the new utility poles to press NSTAR to make improvements along Beach Road. On Thursday, the mood was cordial with both sides promising to work cooperatively.

“I get off the boat at 7 am, every Thursday. I’m usually right behind the Cumby’s delivery truck,” Ms. Kennedy said in Island parlance. “I’ve seen how tough it is for trucks to maneuver on this stretch of road.”

Asked if moving the lines underground was a possibility, she said, “It’s possible, but our priority at this time is to relocate these poles to the other side of the street, and to get rid of these cross over wires.”

“That alone will immediately improve the aesthetics of the streetscape,” Mr. Kristal said.

Ms. Kennedy said that while NSTAR would be doing the majority of the work, they would need to coordinate their plans with Comcast and Verizon.

“We’ll have a better idea of how long it will take and what it will cost when we meet again in two weeks,” she said.

Ms. Kennedy knew of the recent kerfuffle over the taller, thicker poles that were installed on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven and Edgartown-West Tisbury Roads.

“We’re here to work with you, we really, really are,” she said.