Public works needs more help as locating existing utility lines increases demand

Public works needs more help as locating existing utility lines increases demand
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 7:35 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Across Nacogdoches, drivers may see active road work and pin flags placed into the ground. City of Nacogdoches public works director Steve Bartlett said there are four broadband telecommunication companies installing fiber optic lines all over town.

Bartlett said call volumes have risen by over 400 calls a month to locate existing water and sewer lines. He’s expecting that number to increase to up to 600 a month.

“We are unable to keep up with that call volume. When you call 8-1-1, we have 48 hours to get out and locate this and we’re unable to meet that demand,” said Bartlett.

With only one locator on staff, Bartlett also said “it’s really critical to our service and it’s an essential function to keep our services going for the public.”

The proposals include a budget amendment to pull from the city’s reserve funds to negotiate a contract with the U.S Infrastructure Company, which already handles locating gas, electric, and phone lines.

“What we want to do is supervise this more, have more folks on the ground to be able to be responsive to hopefully almost virtually eliminate the strikes,” said Bartlett.

A strike referring to any time an existing utility line is damaged and needs repair. The contract is not to exceed $125,000. The proposal shows it would cost the city $62,500 to contract with U.S. Infrastructure Company for the rest of this fiscal year. The other half is to be used for next year’s budget.

Bartlett says the duration of the contract is expected to be three to four years.