Storm damage is an opportunity to rethink the future of our utilities

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Several things were evident after Saturday’s tornadoes.

Our city and county governments have emergency plans in place and public officials were able to put them into action without problems.

City and county workers and first responders carried out those plans, even during the height of the storm.

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The people of Warren County are resilient. They made it through the storm and began cleaning their property and adjusted to conditions.

Trees and power lines don’t mix; we need to put our utility lines underground.

Many of the power outages during the storm were the result of trees and limbs falling on power lines and transformers. In some cases, falling trees took power lines with them as they fell or pulled transmission lines out of transformers.

At least one count estimated 40 poles were broken in the wake of the twisters. The power failures at one point left 7,500 people without power, and some are still waiting for their power to be restored.

While putting power lines might be impractical in the county, the move is very practical inside the city limits of Vicksburg, especially along our major thoroughfares like Clay Street. Putting our electrical service underground would eliminate the potential threat of damage from trees on lines. It would also eliminate the potential threat of broken poles and dangling electrical wires because a car or truck slammed into a pole.

Areas would look cleaner because the unsightly utility poles and jumble of electrical, telephone and cable service line would be underground; out of sight and out of mind. The idea of putting our utility lines under ground is not as far-fetched as it seems.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has mentioned burying the utility lines along Clay Street, and the city’s comprehensive plan also recommends burying utility lines in certain areas of the city.

Vicksburg has made a lot of great strides to improve the present and its future. Just as having an auxiliary wate rline makes sense to protect the city from a potential disaster affecting city water service, putting power lines under ground makes good sense from aesthetic and safety considerations.