Pole position: Newcastle road has power pole in it after council works

Newcastle locals have been left scratching their heads at the sight of a power pole left in the middle of a road at the intersection of Foundry and Albert Streets in Wickham.

A power pole has been left in the middle of a Newcastle Road after council works

Recent road works have seen the road widened and kerb set back, with the power pole now sticking out like a sore thumb in the road.

“Just bizarre — what else can you say,” a local businessman named Warwick told news.com.au.

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“It’s been there for a week, they’ve been working on this for ages.

“Apparently installing a roundabout eventually. The designer certainly made a few boo-boos.”

City of Newcastle Council chief executive Jeremy Bath told news.com.au the errant pole was the result of Ausgrid putting a temporary ban on “live work” after the death of an employee who was electrocuted in April.

“Anything involving electricity, they will not touch,” Mr Bath said.

“So any time that we need — and we do a whole heap of work where we want Ausgrid to come in and actually turn something off essentially, like a telegraph pole so it can be relocated — Ausgrid say ‘Sorry, we can’t do it at the moment’.

“So our choices are we either do no work or we have to stage work such as what you’re seeing in Foundry St.”

Mr Bath said it was “incredibly frustrating” and the council would be asking Ausgrid to temporarily overlook the ban on live works to relocate the pole.

In a statement, Ausgrid spokesperson said the pole was “clearly in an unsafe location” on the road and that its crews would work as quickly as possible to schedule an outage to move it.

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“It is disappointing to read comments by Council CEO Jeremy Bath who stated council proceeded with this work to move the kerb knowing full well that the pole would be left in the roadway as a result,” the spokesperson said.

Ausgrid’s temporary ban on “live works” was put into place after Robert Nicholls, 39, was rushed to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital in a critical condition in April where he later died, according to the Electrical Trades Union.

He had been part of an Ausgrid crew replacing a low-voltage power pole in Lane Cove when he was electrocuted.

“Our decision (to pause live work) was driven solely by Ausgrid’s commitment to the safety of our people, contractors and the community who work on, and use, the network,” the Ausgrid statement concluded.