WHAT appeared to be an embarrassing stuff-up by council is actually the result of a power company's ban on live electrical work.
Photos emerged on Sunday of a power pole situated in the middle of Foundry Street in Wickham.
Social media users teed off on Newcastle council for seemingly stuffing up roadworks in the street.
But City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath says the work was completed as intended, and the resulting outcome is because Ausgrid has not moved the pole as planned.
"We don't own the power poles," Mr Bath said in a radio interview on Monday morning.
"What's going on here is, about six months ago there was a fatality on an Ausgrid site. An employee of Ausgrid died.
"As a result, Ausgrid, they've had some issues with the [workers'] unions. They are prevented from undertaking any work on what we call live work."
Mr Bath said the ban on live electrical work had held up relocation of the pole before council commenced resurfacing the road.
"Anytime that we need, and a we do a whole heap of work where we want Augrid to come in and 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've seen in Foundry Street.
"We resurface the road and we have to say to Ausgrid, we desperately need you to come in and temporarily overlook your ban on live work, relocate the telegraph pole, and then we will come back and finish the resurfacing of the road.
"It's incredibly frustrating for us, but the alternative is I just have guys sitting around doing no work."
Mr Bath said City of Newcastle workers had installed temporary fencing around the pole but it had been removed by a member of the public over the weekend.
He said fencing had been put back in place on Monday.