COOKSHIRE-EATON, Que. - Alleged corruption-fuelled cost overruns aren't the only menace upon Quebec's road network these days.
Officials say they are dealing with the puzzling appearance of a utility pole — smack in the middle of a provincial highway east of Montreal.
A photo of the pole, which is in the middle of Highway 251 in the Eastern Townships, appeared in a local newspaper today.
So how does such an improbable obstacle wind up protruding from a highway, anyway?
According to various local media, it's been there for two months. But provincial transport authorities say that until last week, there were construction crews there and that road stretch had not actually been paved yet.
The roadway had been moved to avoid a dangerous curb. Hydro Quebec, the provincial power utility, says it was only advised about the need to move its cables about three weeks ago.
A spokesman for Transport Quebec isn't blaming the contractor. Gilles Bourque said there were communication problems between the transport authority and the telephone and power utilities that share the line.
He called the situation unacceptable.
A spokeswoman for Hydro Quebec said a new pole is being installed and the electrical wires and telephone wires should be moved by the end of the week.
Ginette Cantin says Hydro Quebec crews were on site to begin the work necessary to move the wires. Crews with Bell Canada will also move their wires.
The provincial minister in charge of the region assured reporters Monday at an event in Sherbrooke that proper precautions would be taken to ensure there was adequate signage in the area.
Highway 251 is a 38-kilometre stretch of provincial highway that runs north-south.
The pole has not caused any harm, so far. Quebec provincial police said there had been no reports of accidents at the site.
Bourque said the problem would be fixed by the end of the month.
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