BENTON, Ark. – When new utilities get installed most people are understanding that it will be a temporary inconvenience and will be a slight mess during installation.
Benton is installing new fiber internet lines but the mess has been worse after crews leave residents’ yards.
“They messed up that one and this one and another friend’s driveway and another friend’s internet and another friend’s sprinklers,” Benton resident Shelli Poole said.
Poole said she lost the use of her plumbing for about a week.
She initially called a plumber but was told a rooter was needed. She called two separate rooters and finally narrowed down her issue, the pipe outside her home was damaged – right where crews were working on the new fiber cable.
Poole said she understands accidents can happen but with several of her neighbors dealing with the same issue she was not sure what was going on.
“You want to give them the benefit of the doubt but facts are facts,” Poole said.
Klaasmeyer Construction is doing the installation of this project and General Superintendent Johnny Walley said in older neighborhoods, like this one in Benton, these type of projects tends to be a little more tricky.
“That subdivision was kind of unusual in the sense of there was no way of knowing how deep or where those sewer laterals were actually at,” Walley explained.
Poole said the rooters cost her about $300 and she felt she should not have had to use them to begin with.
On Tuesday Benton city officials met with representatives from AT&T, Klaasmeyer reps and subcontractors, and residents to discuss the issues going on and how to prevent and rectify them.
“Nobody’s gonna be fitting the bill except for us,” Walley proclaimed.
Walley said they have acquired two ground-penetrating radars in order to better locate utilities already in yards. Walley also said they were going to have more open lines of communication to all parties involved in future projects.
“Going forward we need to be more on top of dealing with the property owners. Letting them know what’s going on in advance and what’s taking place after we’re done too,” Walley said.
Poole attended the meeting and said it was productive for everyone and she feels contractors and utilities will do better for future projects.
“They did everything that I think that they could to make things right so I’m happy with that,” Poole said.
The city encourages anyone who has experienced similar issues to call them if they cannot get ahold of the contractors.