Long Beach to untangle utility wires dangling over many neighborhoods

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Long Beach has voted to untangle the network of utility lines in its neighborhoods.

Several Long Beach neighborhood associations have been complaining about the issue for years. Residents came up with a name for it, "wire blight."

Wire blight consists of several wires crisscrossing streets and alleys, many of them for services no longer in use. Throughout Long Beach large collections of utility wire are often bundled and left hanging from telephone poles.

Over the next two months the city will conduct an audit of utility wires to identify maintenance needs and violations.

California's struggle with wire blight can be traced back to 1967, when first lady Lady Bird Johnson's beautification efforts drew attention to the visual blight of poles and wires.

In 2003, San Diego officials adopted a special surcharge on residents to help pay to bury utility wires. As a result, almost 65 percent of San Diego's electric distribution lines run underground.