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LCUB to cut trail trees


Residents of Weatherly Hills and Holly Oaks subdivisions are concerned about plans Lenoir City Utilities Board has to remove trees from a walking trail in their area.

“We think it’s unnecessary to devastate the walking trail,” said Joe Watson, a Holly Oaks resident. “If the trees are going to be an issue, why don’t they just trim the trees instead of eliminating them.”

Watson said residents were sent a letter dated Aug. 24 from LCUB senior line foreman David Rankin concerning trees in the 100-foot LCUB easement around a 69,000 volt transmission line which starts at a substation on Fretz Road and runs through Turkey Creek and parallel with Interstate 40/75.

In the letter, Rankin wrote: “it is imperative that any trees within the 100’ right-of-way be removed in the interest of operating the electrical system in a safe and reliable manner.”

LCUB General Manager Fred Nelson said there is a need to cut the trees to maintain the safety of the line and for the

customers.

“There’s a hundred-foot easement there that’s like fifty-feet from the middle line,” he said. “We’re going to cut the trees we have to cut. We don’t want to have to cut any trees we don’t have to. If something is inside that easement and going to cause a problem, we’re going to have to take it down.”

Nelson said in the past, LCUB has signed contracts with customers that allowed customers to trim the trees around power lines. In this case, that can’t be done because of the high voltage of the power line.

“We don’t do contracts on this type of line because it [electricity] has the capacity to arc over to a limb that is six to eight feet away from the line,” he said. “That’s why we won’t let anybody trim that line. We have to de-energize that line and trim it ourselves.”

Nelson acknowledges that he is in a difficult situation because no matter what he does, he would end up angering someone. By maintaining the lines, he angers those who love the trees. If he didn’t maintain the lines and a limb brought down the power line, then someone would be upset by that as well.

“This is such a high voltage line that if a tree takes a line out, then all of Farragut goes out,” Nelson said. “We don’t want to cause a hassle, but in turn we get calls from people when the line’s out. A tree limb caused a big outage north of here several years ago. It’s to the benefit of the businesses and homes along that circuit to keep that line clear.”

Farragut is on the circuit. The power line runs across Watt Road up to Farragut sub station, cuts across Campbell Station Road, runs behind Carmax and all along Turkey Creek.

Farragut Alderman Joel Garber sits on the LCUB board, a position he has held since July. He said there was no mention of tree cutting during LCUB meetings and he had no idea tree cutting was a planned event.

“We’re hoping there’s a reasonable solution to the matter,” Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III said. “I recognize the need for L-C-U-B to maintain their line, but I hope we can work something out for the citizens of our town as well.”

Ford said he directed Gary Palmer, assistant town administrator, to set up a meeting with LCUB officials.

A meeting was scheduled to take place 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19. Results of the meeting were unavailable at press time.

 

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