Wires still perilously hanging across Wendell creek months after Hurricane Michael


WENDELL, N.C. (WNCN) — Near a bridge that spans Robertson Pond Road by Buffalo Creek in Wendell the remnants of Hurricane Michael are still visible.

Across the street from the entrance to the Robertson Millpond Preserve, a huge branch came down in the storm entangling utility lines which span the creek. 

“It’s unsettling to see a branch hanging over a power line near the entrance to a park,” said Derek Versteegen who is worried about an interruption of service.

Versteegen first noticed the branch while exploring the park after the hurricane back 2018.

Thinking they were power lines, he called Duke Energy but it turned out the wires weren’t electric. 

Photo by Steve Sbraccia/CBS 17

Nearly a year later the scene looks the same, as he and others struggled to get the branch removed from the wires.

The cables parallel Robertson Pond Road, but they are below ground all the way until they approach Buffalo Creek.

At that point, someone decided the cables need to be elevated to cross the creek, so the cables go up two poles and cross over the waterway.

Right over the middle of the creek is where a large branch came down that’s causing the concern. 

Versteegen says whoever owns them needs to take care of it before service is interrupted. 

“It’s something that should be maintained and should be taken care of,” he said.

The park’s open space manager told CBS 17 consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia by phone she thought the cables belonged to Spectrum — and she has been calling to report it, also with no success.

Photo by Steve Sbraccia/CBS 17

But, when Sbraccia examined the area, he saw the poles have tags for SBT&T.

That’s the old Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph which was taken over by AT&T. 

Sbraccia emailed AT&T pictures of the scene and asked if the cables belong to them and if so — can they take care of the situation?

Trying to find out who owns the cable has been tricky, but once the owner is identified Versteegen hopes they will fix the problem.

“You have to take care of your business — take care of your customers,’’ he said.  “It’s your social responsibility.”

AT&T spokeswoman Ann Elsas gave the following statement to CBS 17.

We are working quickly to remove the downed trees and secure the cable. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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