Saying that CenturyLink failed to provide underground utility location information leading to additional expenses in the 11th street CSO sewer project, city staff suggested sending the errant phone company the $35,000 bill for ignoring repeated requests that resulted in those additional costs and unexpected complications for the city contractor to handle. A representative of the company told KAST News that CenturyLink could have done a better job.
Staff engineer Cindy Moore explained that utilities with underground lines are required to provide locating information so that that be considered early in the planning process. That didn't happen with CenturyLink and as a result the project contractor ended up digging into lines, at one point interrupting phone service to the County Government Offcie Building and surrounding homes and businesses. Moore said the old telephone lines were probably buried in the early 1900's and were inherited by CenturyLink when they bought the infrastructure.
The Council passed a motion to pay the contractor the additonal funds but also directed staff to pursue centuryLink for reimbursement since the company's agreement with the city requires them to provide information in a timely manner. Moore also said that CenturyLink failed to act in a timely manner in moving their lines, or making the decision to abandon old lines threatening the city timetable for completion of the CSO project. This crucial since the city is under a mandate to complete this phase of the storm water separation work by the first of next year.
A person identifying himself as Martin Flynn called KAST News Wednesday after reading the story saying he is a public relations person with CenturyLink and he objected to the story. He said the company had met with the city in November of 2012 regarding the project and while he stopped short of saying Moore's statements about the company's failures to respond were untrue and he said CenturyLink would have contracted with a utility location firm to address these issues although he said he did not have information specific to the Astoria project. He said that his company has a good relationship with the city and didn't want to get into any mud-slinging when asked directly whether Moore's comments were accurate.